Gardening June 2019

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

There is nothing more inspiring than to walk into a nursery filled with glorious plants in early June. We are so fortunate on Fishers Island to have Race Rock Garden Co. to provide us with wonderful material. This season, Jennifer Spofford and her team, have put together a large selection of plants for containers. There are also perennials and annuals for the garden, and a good selection of healthy shrubs for the landscape. In addition, the Race Rock greenhouse is full of vegetables and tomato plants Jeff Edwards has grown from seed this spring.

Click any image for a larger version. Photo credit: Mélie Spofford

Jeff starts planting the seeds the beginning of April to have plants ready to sell in late May or early June. He suggests removing the bottom leaves of tomato plants, in order to plant them deeply and to add good compost and crushed eggshells to the hole. The eggshells help prevent tomato blossom rust and the compost helps produce strong and healthy roots. Because my garden is in a windy location I always put “water wall” protection (last photo) around my newly planted tomato plants, which I remove as the days get warmer in mid to late June.

Tomato plants Jeff grew this year

  • Super Sweet 100 – red cherry
  • Atlas – compact plant with large 1lb fruit
  • Super Beefsteak – large red meaty fruit
  • Big Boy – large red fruit good for slicing, salads and canning
  • Honeycomb – petite ½ golden orange clusters
  • Independence Day – early maturing 6-8oz red fruit
  • Mortgage Lifter – large 16-24 oz. pink red meaty with few seeds
  • Moneymaker – red 7-8 oz. fruit, good for hot climates
  • Sweet Tangerine – extra sweet, golden orange 6.5 oz. fruit
  • Toma Verde – tomatillo – papery husk, good for salsa verde

Popular container plants available at Race Rock

  • Calibrachoa
  • Coleus
  • Evolvulus
  • Geranium
  • Hibiscus
  • Lampranthus
  • Petunia
  • Surdiva
  • Sweet Alyssum

Selection of many good annual & perennial pollinator plants

  • Asclepias tuberosa – Butterfly Weed
  • Asclepias syrica – Milkweed
  • Echibeckia
  • Echinacea – Coneflower
  • Gloriosa Daisy
  • Lantana
  • Monardia – Bee balm
  • Nepeta
  • Russian Sage
  • Verbena hastalata
  • Zinnia

These varieties are only mentioning a few available – there are many more plants at the nursery to inspire your creativity in the garden this year – happy planting!

Follow up from Fall: Dahlia Tuber Storage

Last fall I wrote about Christabel Vartanian’s method of dahlia tuber storage. A professional dahlia grower told her to wrap the divided dug up tubers in Saran Wrap and then store them in a place that is cold, but doesn’t freeze over the winter. Mario Torres helped me dig the tubers up from my garden last fall and we placed the wrapped tubers in a Styrofoam cooler. I then placed it in an unheated room in my house. This spring, I unwrapped firm dahlia tubers that, in some cases, had already started to sprout. Only a couple of the dahlias had rotted over the winter, which had happened to me often in the past with other storage methods. Our only mistake was that we forgot to put the names of the dahlias on the Saran Wrap, so it will be a surprise once they come up in the garden and bloom!

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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