Conducting varietal evaluations for the home vegetable garden are time-consuming, labor-intensive, and costly. As a result, most are done on an observational basis only. In 1991, a horticultural training program modeled after the highly successful Master Gardener program began at the Utah State Prison, Draper, for the prison inmate population. In 1994, 12 broccoli, 20 pepper, and 30 tomato varieties commonly used in the home garden were evaluated for growth and yield at the Prison Farm. Inmates raised, tended, harvested, and compiled the trial's data and participated in all evaluations of the varieties. Extension personnel provided the instruction and regular visits to conduct the trial. The project provides instruction on vegetable production and cultivar evaluations to the inmates while providing the public with needed cultivar information for the home garden. In addition, the partnership with the inmate population limits the time inputs necessary to conduct the trials by extension staff. This project will continue and greatly expand in 1995.
In response to a perceived need for the development and introduction of superior plant accessions for use in sustainable, low-water landscaping, land-grant universities in Colorado, Idaho, and Utah, have supported plant development programs. Each of these programs has unique characteristics and protocols for releasing plant materials and obtaining royalties to further support research and development. Colorado State University (CSU) is part of the Plant Select program, which evaluates and promotes native and non-native plants for use in low-water landscapes. Selected plants are released to commercial members who pay a membership fee and royalties for access to the selected plants. The University of Idaho focuses on selecting and evaluating native herbaceous perennials, which are then released through a contract and royalty program with a local nursery. Utah State University uses the Sego Supreme program to select, propagate, and evaluate native plants. Selected plants are released to interested growers who pay a royalty for production rights.