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Seed racks are beginning to pop up and their siren songs call me. It’s time to start culling the lists I have been making from those catalogs that are still pouring in. But how can one do that? Here’s some input for you as you ponder your own lists and catalogs. Maybe some will strike your fancy.

Tomatoes are the rock stars of the vegetable garden.
There are two new ones this year you might want to look at:

 1)Tomato, ‘Oh Happy Day’ takes just 67 days to harvest. Breeders have built in super disease resistance to early blight, late blight, verticillium, and fusarium while still preserving flavor and sweetness. It’s classified as a junior beefsteak weighing in at about 5 ounces when fully ripe. Now if I can just get the song out of my head!


2) ‘Sweet Valentines’ Hybrid Tomato F1.

 You can expect high yields of delectable sweet, bright red, heart-shaped cherry fruits on a 12 to 16 inch cascading plant in about 60  days. It is the perfect veg plant for pots, mixed containers, and hanging baskets. A small 4-6 inch pot can hold one plant if that’s all you have room for or you can plant more in a larger container as long as you have sun. This tomato can even be a “spiller” in a mixed container planting. ‘Sweet Valentines’ Hybrid Tomato gets my vote just for cuteness!







When it comes to flowers, there are dozens of new introductions.
Here are just three:

1) Bloomify™ Red Lantana

Lantanas are dependable summer flowers for their heat and drought resistance in a sunny garden. This one goes one step further in that it is sterile which means it just keeps on blooming, being disinterested in setting seed. It won’t go out of flower in the heat of summer. It grows into a nice rounded shape, so useful in containers and the landscape. Its continuous flowering will keep the bees and butterflies coming to your garden as well as the hummingbirds. It’s known to be deer and rabbit resistant.






2) Petunia ‘Headliner Pink Sky’ 

Distinctive 2-3″ pink/rose blooms feature eye-catching splashes of white/cream all over the flower. They look like twinkling stars which delightfully change as outdoor temperatures change. The number of speckles create a constantly shifting starry display of color. I can say with certainty this is a deer resistant plant based on more than 25 years of planting petunias that have never been touched by any deer.






3) Rockin’ Deep Purple Salvia   is the last plant I’ll tell you about. I personally trialed this one and I can tell you it is bulletproof. Because this plant is sterile, it’s designed to bloom continually without stopping. A group of them lined my south-facing baking hot blacktopped driveway last summer. All they got was total neglect. There was no supplemental water, no deadheading, no TLC. Simply put, it was tough love all the way. They drew pollinators like a magnet right through the first frosts when there was little else for them to feed on. The plants filled out to about 30 inches each and grew to about two feet. Their deep blue color was spectacular and combined well with marigolds and zinnias, other tough plants. I found them to be compact, richly colored, easy, and trouble free. Plus salvias are known to be critter resistant. In a word, this is a superb plant.





So start your seed search and be on the lookout for winners like these.
Also, don’t forget to try Coast of Maine’s Sprout Island – Organic Seed Starter!
Now available in both 16q and 2cf bags.  You won’t be sorry!





By Lorraine Ballato

One Comment

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    • Janice Allen

    • February 20, 2018

    Absolutely love the Coast of Maine products. I am going to have to make a trip and visit your garden center.

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