David T. Handley of the University of Maine will present a talk titled Choosing Vegetable Varieties for Maine on Tuesday, March 23 at noon at Merryspring Nature Center.

There are many different varieties of vegetables available and deciding which ones to grow can be a challenge. Should one select a new variety with great disease resistance, or choose an heirloom type for the great flavor? Should one select a variety that ripens early, or one that produces the largest fruit? From asparagus to zucchini, choosing the best variety to suit a particular site and appetite is one of the gardener’s most important decisions, and can make the difference between crop success and failure.

Variety testing has been part of the University of Maine’s agricultural research program for decades, and in this presentation, Handley, a vegetable and small fruit specialist, will use the results of recent vegetable trials to showcase varieties that perform well in Maine.

Handley is also a cooperating professor of horticulture for the University of Maine. He has been based at the Highmoor Farm Agricultural Experiment Station since 1983, where he carries out applied research regarding vegetable and berry variety evaluation, production techniques and pest management strategies. He coordinates statewide integrated pest management programs for strawberries and sweet corn. Handley is the author of numerous Extension fact sheets, articles and newsletters, and is co-editor of two regional small fruit production guides.

Merryspring members and all children attend talks free, and there is a charge of $5 for non-members. Merryspring is a member-supported, nonprofit nature education center and park located at the end of Conway Road just off Route 1 by the Hannaford shopping plaza in Camden. For more information, call Merryspring at 236-2239 or visit merryspring.org.