Strategies for Growing Edibles Later into the Season

August 8, 2019  
Filed under Home & Garden

Photo credit: Melinda Myers, LLC
Floating row covers trap heat around your plants, but allow air, light and water through so there is no need to uncover the plants during the day or for watering.

 

by Melinda Myers

Don’t let fall or potentially frosty temperatures stop you from enjoying garden-fresh produce. Extend the nutritional value and homegrown flavor into your fall and early winter meals with the help of short season crops and season extending strategies.

Lettuce, spinach, radishes, turnips, and beets are quick to mature from seed to harvest.  Plus, the cooler temperatures enhance their flavor. Simply count the number of frost-free days left in your growing season and compare it with the number of days from planting to harvest listed on the seed packet.

Protect these late plantings and other vegetables from chilly fall temperatures with cloches, coldframes, and floating row covers.  Many of these devices have long been used by gardeners to jump start the season in spring and extend it much later into fall.  These devices trap heat around the plants, protecting them from frosty temperatures.

Convert gallon milk jugs into garden cloches for individual plants.  Remove the bottom of the jug and slide it over the plant.  Use the cap to capture heat or remove to ventilate your homemade cloche on sunny days.  Or purchase reusable cloches with built in ventilation.  Originally made of glass many of the newer cloches are plastic, making them more affordable, easy to stack and portable.

You can make your own coldframes.  Many gardeners convert discarded windows, a bit of lumber and nails into a homemade shelter for their plants.  The window size usually determines the size of your coldframe.  Just make sure you can reach all the plants inside.  For best results your frame should be higher in the back then the front so water and melting snow can drain off.  And if possible, facing south for better warming.  The internet and garden books are filled with plans.

I prefer the construction-free, all-purpose garden fabrics.  Simply drape these floating row covers (season-extending fabrics) over your crops.  Anchor the edges with rocks, boards, or wire wickets.  The fabric traps heat around your plants, but allows air, light and water through so there is no need to uncover the plants during the day or for watering.

Increase the ease of season-extending fabrics with low and tall frost pop-up covers and plant protection frost covers.  The frames are fitted with all-purpose garden fabric to create protective tents.  You can protect new plantings and extend your harvest by protecting plants down to 24 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, with a little preparation you can keep enjoying fresh-from-the-garden flavor long past the traditional end to your harvest season.

Holiday Gifts for Gardeners

July 25, 2019  
Filed under Home & Garden

Indoor herb kits keep gardeners growing all year, while providing fresh herbs for flavoring and garnishing meals.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company

By Melinda Myers

Holidays are a wonderful time to gather with friends and family, share a special meal and exchange gifts. Finding the perfect gift for those we love can be overwhelming and stressful. No need to fret; give the gift of gardening that provides seasons of joy.

It doesn’t matter if your recipient is young or old, new or experienced, an avid gardener or one who just likes the benefits gardening provides. You can find something special for everyone on your gift list.

Small and large space gardeners will appreciate help keeping their tools handy as they work their way through their landscape. Give them a bucket, pair of gloves and a few tools to keep by the door for those quick planting, weeding and deadheading sessions. Or decorate an old mailbox and turn it into tool storage to be mounted in the garden. Their tools will be handy and they’ll spend less time and fewer steps hunting down forgotten tools.

Or purchase a tool caddy.  Look for one that’s colorful and waterproof like the Puddle-Proof Tote that holds and keeps hand tools, gloves and seeds dry.  Help them wrangle larger tools for easy transport from the shed to the garden and from bed to bed with a wheeled tool caddy that handles larger tools. The Mobile Tool storage caddy (gardeners.com) has pockets for small tools, secures large handled tools and provides a place to hold compost, cut flowers or vegetables. It’s easy to maneuver, eliminates multiple trips to the shed and is perfect for gardeners of all ages and abilities.

Tools are always a favorite of gardeners. Newbies need to build their tool collection while experienced gardeners may need to replace broken or time worn hand tools. Consider giving a harvest basket, bucket or tool caddy filled with some basics. All gardeners will appreciate a new innovative tool that makes gardening easier or more fun. Look for ergonomic tools that are built to ease stress on joints and allow gardeners to work longer with less pain.  Multifunctioning tools like the Golden Gark Rake that rakes, scoops and sifts helps save storage space and the need to haul around multiple tools.

Help your favorite gardener keep their green thumb in shape all winter long. Provide them with pretty pots, potting mix and seeds. Look for kits like the Galvanized Organic Kitchen Herbs Growing Kit that provides all they’ll need to grow their own fresh herbs. Increase their indoor gardening success with supplemental lighting. You’ll now find light stands that sit on the table, mount on the wall or attach to plant pots. Furniture quality Bamboo Mini LED Grow Light systems provide energy efficient lighting in a set up pretty enough for any room.

And for those that like the flowers but have limited time or interest in growing, give them a waxed amaryllis bulb.  They won’t need to water or fertilize. Beginning and experienced gardeners will watch in amazement as this plant bursts into bloom with no effort on their part.

Don’t know what to send? Cut flowers, flowering bulbs and plants are sure to generate a smile in just seconds. Take care of special occasions throughout the year in one single order. Place one order for 3, 6, or 12 months of blooming beauty delivered right to your loved one’s door, providing joy throughout the year.

So, break out your gift list and look for ways to give the gift of gardening. Your family and friends will appreciate your thoughtfulness all year long.

Flower Bed Maintenance Keeps Gardens Looking Their Best All Summer Long

July 2, 2019  
Filed under Home & Garden

Removing spent flowers on many perennials will encourage additional bloom and keep gardens looking their best.
Photo credit: Melinda Myers, LLC

By Melinda Myers

A bit of grooming and care will keep your flower gardens looking their best throughout the hot summer months and into fall.

Remove the flower stems of salvias, veronicas and similar flowers as the blooms begin to fade. Use a pruner or sharp garden scissors and cut just above the first set of leaves or above the side shoots where new flower buds are forming.

Cut back flopping perennials like Walker’s Low catmint, veronica and Salvia that have finished their second flush of flowers. New growth will be sturdier, more compact and eventually covered with blooms.

Plants like daylilies and balloon flower require a bit different care. Remove the individual blooms as they fade for maximum beauty. Once all the individual flowers have bloomed out, you can cut the flower stem back at the base.

Keep coral bells tidy and many varieties blooming longer with a bit of deadheading. Remove the whole flower stem, once blooms fade, back to the leafy base where it arises from the plant. And cut a few flowers to enjoy indoors in a summer bouquet.

Remove faded flowers for a neater and tidier appearance, but no additional bloom, on peonies, lamb’s ear and bergenia. Removing the seedpods of peonies as they form, back to a healthy set of leaves, helps keep stems upright and makes for a tidier plant throughout the summer.

Deadheading won’t extend the bloom for columbine, but it will prevent reseeding – if that’s a concern for you. Prune the flowering stems back to their base in the foliage.

Removing spent flowers on perennials like bee balm, purple coneflower, salvia, veronicas, garden phlox and many others will encourage additional bloom. You may want to skip deadheading of any late blooming varieties. This allows them to form seed pods for a bit of winter interest.

Pruning your flowers can also impact the appearance, size, and flowering of plants. Prune Russian sage and upright sedums, like Autumn Joy, subject to flopping back halfway in mid-June to encourage sturdy growth. Pruning coneflowers and other late blooming perennials once, early in the season, can result in shorter plants that flower a bit later. Pinch asters and mums back to 6 inches throughout June and into early July in southern regions for compact plants and an attractive fall display.

Further improve your garden’s beauty by removing or trimming back discolored foliage with sharp scissors or a hand pruner.

Stake taller perennials in need of a bit of support. Use bamboo stakes and ties, twigs woven into stems or other attractive or virtually invisible supports. Then make a note on next year’s calendar as a reminder to put stakes in place in spring as plants emerge.

Spread a layer of shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic mulch over the soil surface. This conserves moisture, helps suppress weeds and improves the soil as they break down.

A bit of pinching and pruning now as various flowers fade will extend the beauty and your enjoyment throughout summer and into fall.

Growing Blueberries in Honor of National Blueberry Month

July 2, 2019  
Filed under Food, Home & Garden

Blueberry plants provide spring blooms, fall color and tasty, nutritional fruit.
Photo credit: Melinda Myers, LLC

By Melinda Myers

It’s time to celebrate. July is National blueberry month so enjoy some of these nutritious berries and consider growing a few plants in your landscape.

Don’t let a lack of space or poor soil stop you from growing blueberries. Simply plant a few blueberries in containers and enjoy their spring blooms, fall color and tasty and nutritional fruit for snacking, baking and including in healthful meals.

Blueberries prefer moist well-drained acidic soil. Most of us don’t have this type of soil. We can, however, create the ideal conditions with a quality potting mix. Or make your own with a combination of sphagnum moss, pine bark and rice hulls or perlite for drainage. Incorporate a slow release fertilizer at planting to provide needed nutrients for 6 to 8 weeks.

Grow one blueberry in a 5-gallon pot with drainage holes. You only need one plant to have fruit but growing two blueberry plants more than doubles the harvest. Plus, you’ll have more flowers and colorful fall foliage to brighten your patio, deck or balcony.

Select a blueberry suited to your growing region or one of the compact blueberry cultivars like Top Hat, Jelly Bean, Blueberry Glaze, and Peach Sorbet. Perpetua is not only compact but produces both a summer and fall crop.

Place your container in a sunny location. Check soil moisture in your container gardens daily.  Water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist but not soggy wet.

Dress up the container and keep the roots cool and moist with mulch. Cover the soil surface with shredded leaves, evergreen needles, or shredded bark.

Birds are the biggest pest of blueberries. Simply cover the plants with netting as the fruit begins to develop to protect your harvest from hungry birds. This is a much easier task when dealing with a couple of potted plants versus a large in-ground planting.

You will need to provide a bit of winter protection if your winters are cold. Place your potted blueberries in a sheltered location and cover the container with woodchips to insulate the roots. Or sink the container in a vacant spot in the garden. You can also store your plants in an unheated garage for winter. Just be sure to water the plants anytime the soil is thawed and dry.

And even if you don’t get a big harvest – the flowers and fall color make great additions to any landscape. Visit MelindaMyers.com for tips on harvesting, storing and preserving blueberries.

Cool, Refreshing and Straight from the Garden – Mint

June 3, 2019  
Filed under Home & Garden

Mint is easy to grow, suited to container gardens and helps aid digestion.
Photo credit: Melinda Myers, LLC

 

By Melinda Myers

Add a bit of cool flavor to your beverages and meals this summer with homegrown mint.  Try using peppermint leaves in fruit cocktails and ice cream.  Add spearmint to your tea or use the leaves to season lamb and jelly. Or try chocolate mint for a unique sweet and refreshing flavor in desserts and drinks.

This vigorous plant is easy to grow and suited to container gardens.  In fact, growing it in a pot will help keep this vigorous herb contained.  Or sink a container of mint in the garden or plant where surrounding walks and walls will keep this vigorous plant contained.

Grow mint in a full sun to partial shade location with moist well-drained soil. Mulch the soil to conserve moisture.  Though hardy in zones 3 to 11, you will need to provide a bit of winter protection when growing mint in containers in colder regions.  Either sink the container in a vacant spot in the garden or move the planter into an unheated garage.  Water thoroughly whenever the soil is thawed and dry.

Harvest the leaves as needed.  Cutting leafy stems off the plant just above a healthy leaf or bud will encourage compact tidy growth.  Pick mint just before flowering for the most intense flavor.

Include a container of mint in your patio, balcony or deck plantings.  Keeping it close to the kitchen and outdoor living space will make it easy for you to harvest and use.  Plus, your guests will enjoy plucking a few fresh mint leaves to add to their iced tea, mojito or favorite summer beverage or salad.

Not only does this easy to grow herb add flavor, but it also aids digestion.  Add a garnish of mint to dress up dessert plates or provide it to a loved one to calm a queasy stomach.  And use it to increase the manganese, vitamin C and vitamin A levels in your diet.

Make this the year you plant, harvest and enjoy some minty fresh flavor straight from the garden.

Take the Hassle out of Daily Watering

May 23, 2019  
Filed under Home & Garden

Look for a hose trolley that is sturdy and topple-resistant yet lightweight and maneuverable to make watering easy.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company

By Melinda Myers

Proper watering is key to gardening success, but untangling and dragging heavy hoses across the yard, smashing delicate flowers and young vegetable plants along the way is a common occurrence in many yards. If this describes your escapades when watering garden beds and planters, it may be time to look for some time-saving solutions that reduce the hassle of hand watering.

Protect edging plants, especially those at the corner of the bed with hose guides. You can make your own from colorful wine bottles inverted over a section of rebar anchored in the ground. Or invest in some functional or decorative hose guides available for sale.

Connecting and disconnecting the hose to the faucet, inadequate length of hoses, and nozzles can be a source of aggravation. Washers disappear, connections loosen, and leaks occur. Invest in quick-connectors that allow you to make all these connections with a simple click.

Clear the hose clutter off patios, decks and walks while keeping them easily accessible for daily watering. A hose reel allows you to easily wind up the hose out of sight near the faucet. These are often mounted on the wall or are unsightly and bulky devices with wheels that can still be a bit unwieldy. Evaluate the design and ease of use before investing.

An automatic reel that retracts the hose quickly and easily or a lightweight portable model may be just the solution. Irrigation equipment like the G.F. Italia Portable Reel Nozzle Hose available at gardeners.com is lightweight enough, allowing you to carry 50 feet of hose that unravels just the length you need as you water various garden beds or containers on the deck.

Coil hoses are designed to expand when filled with water then retract into a small size for clean, easy storage and portability. You eliminate the need to unwind and rewind long lengths of hoses every time you water. Look for hoses made of long-lasting, kink-free materials that have superior coil memory for years of easy watering.

Make moving long stretches of hoses easier with featherweight and lightweight slim products.  A featherweight hose can weigh as little as two and a half pounds, making it easier to move through the garden and back onto the reel or storage container.

Combine the convenience of storage and lightweight portability. You’ll minimize the need for maintaining hoses at every faucet while retaining the convenience. Look for products that allow you to easily move your hose where it’s needed. Expandable hoses allow you to easily move your hose from faucet to faucet for watering around the yard or pack it in your RV when traveling.

Make proper watering a more convenient part of garden and container maintenance by investing in quality hoses, connectors and storage options.  If it’s easy, you are more likely to water plants as needed and then store the hoses conveniently out of sight after each watering.

Landscape Structures Provide Function and Beauty

May 8, 2019  
Filed under Home & Garden

Arbors can provide a beautiful framework and vertical gardening space for pole beans, melons, or squash in food gardens or serve as a support to climbing roses and flowering vines in garden beds.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company

By Melinda Myers

Incorporate arbors, trellises and other structures into your designs when planning new or updating existing gardens and landscapes. These structures help form the framework of any garden, add year-round interest and provide years of beauty and function.

Utilize arbors to define and connect distinct areas of the landscape. Invite visitors into your landscape with a vine-covered arbor.  Guests won’t be able to resist the invitation to enter and experience the beauty that lies beyond.  Cover these structures with vines for seasonal interest, additional texture and blossoms. Combine two different vines to extend or double your floral display. Plant an annual vine for quick cover with a perennial that takes a year or more to establish and cover the structure.

Beat summer’s heat by creating your own shade with vine-covered arbors.  Plant annual or deciduous vines that let the sun and its warmth shine through during the cooler months. When the leaves return, they provide shade and cooler temperatures during warmer times.

Arbors are as much at home in the food garden as the flowerbed. Connect two garden beds with an over-the-top arbor. Grow pole beans, melons or squash up and over the Titan Squash Tunnel (gardeners.com). You’ll expand your gardening space by going vertical and help reduce disease problems by increasing the sunlight and airflow reaching the plants. Secure large fruit to its obelisk with a net, cotton or macramé sling to prevent them from breaking off the vines.

Dress up any home, garage or shed with trellises covered with flowering vines, climbing roses or an espaliered fruit tree. Provide space between the wall and trellis when mounting them to a building. The space reduces the risk of damage to the wall and the plants benefit from the added airflow and light.

Many trellises are works of art in their own right, so when the plants go dormant the structure continues to dress up an otherwise blank wall.  Whether you prefer simple squares and diamonds, circles, leaves or ceramic songbirds perched among the branchlike supports of the Enchanted Woods Trellis; select a design that reflects your personality and complements your garden design.

Combine several trellis sections to create a decorative screen or bit of fencing. This is a perfect solution for creating privacy or a bit of vertical interest in any size or shape of garden space. Add colorful glass bottles and contemporary design to a vertical planting with a trellis like Gardener’s Achla Designs Vinifera Bottle Trellis.

Use obelisks as focal points and plant supports in the garden or containers.  They’re perfect for creating scale in the garden, especially when new plantings are small and immature. Select a support tall and sturdy enough for the plants you are growing.

Add a bit of beauty and elegance when growing watermelons, cucumbers, pole beans or tomatoes. Train them onto decorative obelisks and they’ll be pretty enough to include in flowerbeds and mixed borders. Add more beauty and a bit of hummingbird appeal with scarlet runner beans. The bright red flowers are followed by green beans that can be eaten fresh or its large seeds harvested and used fresh or dried.

Always consider the function, strength and beauty when selecting structures for your landscape. Team them up with plants suited to your growing conditions and you will benefit from years of enjoyment.

Container Gardens for Every Occasion

April 10, 2019  
Filed under Home & Garden

: Begonia Viking XL Red on Chocolate is a striking plant great for container gardens. Its large vibrant red flowers are contrasted with chocolate brown leaves.
photo credit: All-America Selections

By Melinda Myers

Make every occasion special by designing and growing containers for summer holidays, weddings, anniversary parties or other special celebrations. Pick a color scheme appropriate for the occasion or a variety of colors and shapes sure to add a festive touch.

Look for opportunities to include edible and flower filled planters. Set containers at your front entrance to welcome family and guests. Use smaller containers to line a pathway and decorate each table.  Fill large pots with tall plants and ornamental grasses to provide privacy and define spaces.

Boost your confidence and eliminate the guesswork by including winning varieties trialed and proven for their performance in gardens and containers. All-America Selections (AAS) is a non-profit trialing organization with test sites across the U.S. and Canada. Volunteer judges rate entries based on their improved performance, flavor and unique qualities. Visit the AAS website for help selecting edibles and flowers suitable for container gardening. (all-americaselections.org)

Then pick a color theme. Red, white and blue combinations are perfect for patriotic holidays like the fourth of July. Or pick one color and display it in patriotic pots.  For reds consider Summer Jewel red salvia, Viking XL Red on Chocolate begonia and Double Fire Zahara zinnia.  Add a light airy touch with Sparkle White guara and Gypsy White Improved baby’s breath. Evening Scentsation petunia, Strata salvia and Lavender Lady lavender provide the blue. Add an explosion of texture with fiber optic grass or Fireworks penstemon.

Host a sports event using flower colors or containers of your favorite team. Add to the festivities by growing them in a football, baseball or soccer shaped planter.

Gold is always a great choice when celebrating anniversaries, golden birthdays or any special occasion.  Dress up the tables with the plump blooms of Marigold Big Duck Gold or the feathery blossoms of Fresh Look Gold celosia. Let them know they’re special by including Super Hero™ Spry marigold. The maroon and golden yellow flowers top 12” tall plants and the name says it all. All these golden beauties will continue to flower and thrive long after the party ends. Combine them with other bright colors like South Pacific Orange canna, and Calliope® Medium Dark Red geranium to create a festive atmosphere.

Bring the garden to the party with a few edible containers for a bit of interactive dining.  Encourage guests to harvest herbs and vegetables as they create a salad, season their dinner or flavor their favorite drink.  Then dress up the meal with edible flowers like calendulas and Baby Rose nasturtium with its peppery flavored flowers and leaves.

Make any outdoor wedding, reception or rehearsal dinner at your home memorable by creating planters that complement the bride’s color scheme. Include white flowers, like Summer Jewel White salvia, Mont Blanc nierembergia, Starlight rose zinnia and Gypsy White Improved gypsophila. White is the perfect neutral and lights up any evening celebration.

Once you experience the difference specially-designed containers can make, you’ll be looking for more opportunities to host events and grow more planters.

Simple Strategies for a Larger Tomato Harvest

April 3, 2019  
Filed under Food, Home & Garden

When growing tomatoes in container gardens, look for containers with built-in trellises and large reservoirs that help promote healthy growth and productivity. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company

By Melinda Myers

Nothing is more frustrating than investing time, money and energy in planting and growing tomatoes only to watch them succumb to disease.  We can’t change the weather conditions that support disease problems, but we can tweak our growing strategies to reduce this risk.

Select and grow the most disease-resistant varieties suited to your growing region. Consult your local University Extension Office for a list of recommended tomatoes and always check the plant tags before purchasing plants.

Plant tomatoes in a sunny location, that receives at least eight or more hours of sunlight, with rich well-drained soil. Your plants will be healthier and better able to fend off insects and tolerate disease.

No room – no problem.  Grow your tomatoes in containers filled with a quality potting mix and drainage holes. Many of the newer containers, like Gardener’s Victory Self-Watering Patio Planter are designed to increase success with less effort on your part. Look for containers with built-in trellises, large reservoirs and other features that promote healthy growth and productivity.

Properly space plants to increase airflow and sunlight reaching all parts of the plant. This reduces the risk of disease and increases a plant’s ability to produce more fruit. Leaving space between plants also helps reduce the spread of disease from diseased plants to nearby healthy plants.

Further reduce the risk of disease by lifting the plants off the ground. Supporting plants with strong tomato cages improves air flow and light penetration while keeping the plants and fruit off the ground and away from soil-borne insects and diseases.

Avoid flimsy tomato towers that tend to topple and bulky cages that consume too much storage space.  Consider investing in one of the stronger supports like the Gardener’s Vertex Lifetime Tomato Cage that stores flat and is strong, but flexible to encourage stouter growth. Another benefit is that it opens, so you can easily place them around larger plants; just in case you waited too long to set the cages in place.

Use soaker hoses or irrigation systems like the Waterwell Irrigation System that target water to the soil around the plant. Placing water just where it is needed – on the soil – conserves moisture while keeping the foliage dry. Overhead irrigation uses more water and increases the risk and spread of many common tomato diseases.

Boost your tomato plants’ productivity by as much as 20% with red mulch.  The USDA and Clemson University developed a red mulch that reflects far-red wavelengths upward into the plants stimulating growth and development.  For more help growing tomatoes successfully and boosting your tomato harvest visit gardeners.com.

Rotate plantings from one garden, or area within a garden, to another.  Moving related plants to different locations each year reduces the build up of insects and diseases, reducing the risk of future problems. Consider rotating your tomato plantings into containers if space is limited. Start with fresh soil, a clean container and disease-resistant plants.

With these few changes and a bit of cooperation from the weather, your new challenge may be finding ways to use and share your bumper harvest. Your surplus tomatoes and vegetables are always welcome at food pantries and meal programs in your community.

Winning Tomatoes Add Vibrant Color and Flavor to Gardens and Meals

January 16, 2019  
Filed under Food, Health & Wellness, Home & Garden

By Melinda Myers

Impress your guests with a garden, container and dinner table filled with tasty and colorful winning tomato varieties. Small-fruited varieties are perfect for salads and snacking and those with larger fruit ideal for slicing, canning and sauces.

These winning tomatoes were tested nationally by All-America Selections (AAS), a non-profit plant trialing organization (all-americaselections.org). Volunteer judges evaluated the plants for flavor, improved performance, growth habit, productivity, or pest resistance in the garden. Only superior, new, non-GMO varieties receive the AAS winner’s title.

Include a few Firefly plants when looking for the perfect snacking and salad tomato. It’s smaller than a cherry and larger than a currant tomato; just the right size to pop in your mouth without embarrassment. The extremely sweet pale white to pale yellow fruit will stand out in the garden, on the relish tray or in a salad.

Join the foodie trend by growing the slightly larger striped Red Torch tomato. The one-and-a-half-inch oblong fruit are red with thin yellow stripes. Enjoy an early harvest and eat Red Torch tomatoes fresh from the garden or cooked into a sweet and sour cherry tomato sauce to serve on bread or over chicken and other vegetables.

Boost your early harvest season with Valentine grape tomatoes. You’ll enjoy the vivid deep red color and sweet flavor. Plus, this productive plant provides plenty of tomatoes for snacking, salads and to share with friends.

Add some purple to the mix with Midnight Snack. This cherry tomato ripens to red with a blush of glossy black-purple.  Judges declared Midnight Snack a big improvement in the flavor of purple tomatoes.

Pot up one or more Patio Choice tomatoes for your patio, deck or tabletop. Each compact 18-inch plant produces up to 100 yellow cherry tomatoes.  Just one fruit-covered plant in a decorative pot creates as colorful a centerpiece as a bouquet of yellow flowers.

Don’t forget to add Red Racer cocktail tomatoes to the mix.  The fruit are about the size of ping pong balls and perfect for stuffing, flavorful enough for salads and hearty enough for soups and stews.

Dress up your salads, sauces and sandwiches with colorful tomato slices. The six Chef’s Choice tomato varieties provide a rainbow of colors for the relish tray.  Guests will have trouble deciding between the red, orange, pink, yellow, green and now black-fruited varieties. These beefsteak tomatoes have the right balance between sugar and acid; perfect for eating fresh and cooking.

Consider mixing any of these winning tomato varieties in with your ornamental plants. A few tomatoes tucked into mixed borders or at the back of a flowerbed can add color, texture and interest to any landscape. Just be sure there’s easy access for harvesting and use decorative obelisks and towers to support taller varieties in style

Next Page »