vegetable varieties

Exciting New Vegetable Varieties for Home Gardeners [webinar]

Wed, 01/13/2021
6:00pm - 7:00pm

Join UNH Extension and UMaine Extension for a joint virtual panel discussion on new vegetable varieties available for your Northern New England garden, and how to decide which of these new varieties to grow in 2021.

The panel will feature Heron Breen, Seeds Branch Area Coordinator in charge of Trials Programs for Fedco Seeds, and Lauren Giroux, Director of Product Selection and Trialing at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, who will give you the insider industry perspective while Becky Sideman, UNH Sustainable Horticulture State Specialist and Professor, and Mark Hutton, UMaine Extension State Vegetable Specialist, will share research-based insights. UNH Extension's Nate Bernitz will moderate the panel.

Registration is required and a $5 donation is optional. Register on the event webpage to attend live or receive a link to the recording. This session is the first in a six-part winter gardening webinar series to be offered every other Wednesday through March for Granite State and Pine State gardeners.

America’s land-grant universities work with farmers and seed companies to bring new varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers and other plants to commercial producers and home gardeners. Through breeding programs and variety trials, land-grant universities play an important role in developing and identifying locally adapted varieties and in educating farmers, gardeners and consumers about the benefits of these new locally specific varieties.

Meet our panel!

  • Becky Sideman is an Extension Specialist and Professor at UNH, and a researcher with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station. Her extension and research program emphasizes vegetable and berry crop production, including season extension practices, for Northern New England. She also coordinates UNH’s Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems undergraduate programs.
  • Mark Hutton is an Extension Professor at the University of Maine and a Vegetable Specialist for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Based out of Highmoor Farm, his research focuses on evaluation of commercial vegetable crops for Maine growing conditions as well as growing practices that have the potential to improve yields and quality and reduce chemical inputs.
  • Heron Breen resides in Saint Albans, Maine and is a child of “Back to the Landers”, a long-time gardener-turned-farmer and seed saver. For over 20+ years, he’s worked for Fedco Seeds in Maine, where he runs the Research & Trial program, contributes to their seed/plant catalog, and assists with daily operations. Heron combines his passion for plants and work at Fedco by breeding and preserving unique varieties on his own farm. He also serves on the board of the Organic Seed Alliance and implements community seed education as well as outreach programs for the Freed Seed Federation.
  • Lauren Giroux grew up in Maine, a child of back to the land movement parents who valued their large home garden. As the Director of Product Selection and Trialing at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, her current responsibility is to oversee the structure and integrity of product trialing and ultimately, product selection decision making for all product lines. As an avid Home Gardener, she maintains edible and ornamental home gardens of her own and finds wisdom and satisfaction in all aspects of her gardening successes and failures.

If you are a person with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Pamela Hargest, UMaine Extension Horticulture Professional,  at or 207.781.6099 to discuss your needs. Receiving requests for accommodations at least 7 days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however, all requests will be considered.

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$5 suggested donation for this webinar