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We’re on the Map!
The All-America Selections Map
All AAS winners have already been evaluated by a panel of unbiased, professional horticulturists and deemed regional or national AAS winners. From the AAS tagline “Tested Nationally & Proven Locally,” FOHC is fulfilling the “Proven Locally” role.
As an AAS Display Garden, the role of the FOHC vegetable garden is to:
- grow the winners in a beautiful and educational display that showcases the results of the AAS trials
- educate the public about AAS and their trialing process
- introduce the winning varieties to the public
FOHC activities such as Harvest Day, Open Gardens, field trips, garden tours, and visitors from the neighboring Fair Oaks Community Garden will afford opportunities for Master Gardeners to showcase and introduce examples of AAS winners as well as educate the public about the AAS program.
The 2018-19 cool season AAS display garden (see bed #4) includes beets, kale, cabbage, mizuna, pak choi, radishes, and lettuce. The summer AAS display garden will showcase many peppers, tomatoes, and other edibles, herbs, and flowers. Check out the AAS winners at an FOHC event.
What is All-America Selections?
All-America Selections (AAS) is a non-profit organization that conducts confidential and impartial trials of new, never-before-sold flower and vegetable seed varieties throughout North America.
AAS was founded in 1932 by W. Ray Hastings, President of the Southern Seedsmen’s Association of Atlanta, Georgia. The goal was to provide a way for home gardeners to learn which new varieties are truly improved. It is supported by breeding companies and is the only national, non-profit plant trialing organization in North America. Their mission statement is “To promote new garden varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America.” The organization’s purpose is threefold:
- test new, unsold cultivars
- inform gardeners about the AAS Winners
- earn gardeners’ trust in the AAS Winners
The 65+ trial judges are horticulture professionals at universities, public gardens, extension offices, seed companies, breeding companies, retailers, and commercial growers. Judges volunteer their time to trial and rate all entries against comparison varieties.
The AAS winners outperform other similar varieties that are currently in the market. Varieties include both edibles and ornamentals. Qualities of an AAS winner include:
- better tasting vegetables
- longer blooming annuals
- superior disease resistance
- unique colors or qualities
- more flowers or fruit per plant
Winners are announced three times per year in November, January, and July. The very extensive AAS website provides information about every AAS winner dating back to 1933. There is helpful information about specific plant needs, characteristics, how and where to grow, judges’ observations, and where to buy seeds. The location of all AAS Display Gardens, including a map, are also on the AAS website, and the public is encouraged to visit the gardens.
Upon conclusion of trials and announcement of winners, the Display Gardens (FOHC being one) are then provided seeds to plant in their gardens.
January 5, 2019. Written by Gail Pothour, UCCE Master Gardener of Sacramento County.