January 12

Maine Gardener: Grab the catalogs and start planning

Gardeners, it's time to use that fertile imagination.

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Photos courtesy of Fedco

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Snow peas.

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Two 4-inch tapered sweet peppers, Aura in golden yellow and Glow in bright orange, were produced to go along with longtime favorite Lipstick.

Johnny’s also has introduced a couple of interesting flowering plants.

Red Flame Celosia has vibrant dark red flowers with burgundy stems and foliage, growing up to 31 inches long, with 2- to 4-inch blossoms that last well as a cut flower.

The Profusion series of zinnias in double deep salmon, double fire, double hot cherry and double yellow are said to provide carefree color all summer long, are self-cleaning and have unmatched disease resistance.

Pinetree Garden Seeds in New Gloucester offers Swing, an f1 hybrid cucumber with all female flowers, which means more fruit, producing crisp, 8- to 10-inch, slightly spined cukes with a non-bitter taste.

I had never thought of growing lentils, an ancient plant but new to the Pinetree catalog. They germinate in 10 to 15 days, and you can let them grow all year and use them dry or harvest green and use them like snap beans.

Nicotiana Marshmallow sounds interesting in that each flower on the plant fades, giving the effect of three colors – rosy red, pink and white – on each plants. It grows to 4 feet on wiry stalks.

Pinetree also has Serengeti bean – also listed new this year by Vermont Bean Seed Co. – that grows on strong upright plants, and has long and uniform pods.

Vermont Beans says, however, that another bean introduction called Cantare is one of the easiest bush snap beans for the home gardener, producing beans that are good fresh, frozen or canned.

Burpee has introduced a tomato called Baby Boomer – perhaps recognizing that those who are getting older are doing more container gardening. This is a determinate plant, and that one plant on a patio is supposed to produce 300 1-inch fruit, and keep producing until it is hit by frost.

Burpee also has a Ms. Mars sunflower that has flowers, leaves and stems that are all a light purple.

A little bit like Johnny’s Shiraz, Cook’s Garden has a purple-podded shelling pea – with green, not purple peas. You can eat them shell and all if picked young.

These are just the highlights for me from a full day perusing the catalogs. I might find more when I get down to figuring out what to order. And you might be interested in totally different things. Curl up on the couch soon and check out your catalogs.

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:


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Elderberry blooms.

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Elderberry fruit.


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