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New for 2003: White Spreading Petunias
by John Harmon
December 1, 2002

It certainly was a quick break-up at the beginning of the week. Oh wait, it's NOVEMBER. I almost forgot it's not SPRING it's winter. I'm confused but not nearly as confused as the squirrels that were once again running around early in the week. They must be wondering what's going on too! I know it looked remarkably like spring this week but don't get out and plant anything just yet. When spring finally arrives there are a bunch of exciting new flower and vegetable varieties available for 2003.

First on my list is a new patio tomato variety that was bred specifically to grow in pots. Tomatoes bred for containers are nothing new but this one is a paste tomato! It's called Window Box Roma. According to the breeder, Seminis Vegetable Seeds Inc., "it was bred with dwarf, tame plants that grow nicely in confined spaces, yet produce very good yields of tasty 60 to 80 gram pear shaped tomatoes that are perfect for salads, sauces or just eating fresh right off the vines". They also made it look good. Seminis claims "The breeder incorporated beautiful dark green rugose foliage on upright plants with thick stems, so this is quite attractive as a patio plant even before fruiting begins".

The folks who have grown this variety say it has very good flavor as well as good shelf life and will provide ripe fruit in 70 days from transplants. They are a hybrid tomato and resistant to: Race 1 Verticillium Wilt, Race 1 Fusarium Wilt, Root Knot Nematodes, Gray Leaf Spot and Bacterial Speck.

These plants will produce with just a half day of full sunlight so most everyone, even apartment dwellers, can find a spot to grow them. Seeds are available in Canada from http://www.veseys.com or call them at 1-800-363-7333.

In the annual flower category there are two new hanging basket petunias. Both new varieties are exciting because they are both white! It's the long awaited white spreading petunia. The first variety is the Easy Wave™ in white. The wave petunias are very popular because they fill and overflow even very large containers and bloom right through our short summer right up to when they freeze. This year besides the pink, blue and purple colors you will be able to get the pure white. Seeds for this one are available in Canada from http://www.stokeseeds.com/ or call them at 1-800-396-9238 I have been growing the "Wave" petunias since they came out and they grow very well here in the Yukon.

The other new petunia is in the Avalanche series and is also pure white. The Avalanche series is a little lower growing than the "Wave" series and works better as a ground cover type as opposed to using it in hanging baskets but it does well in both. I like the "wave" series better but I did grow some of the red Avalanche plants a couple of years ago and found them to be slower and not as full as the "Wave" series. I don't think the Avalanche series likes our long hours of daylight in the summer. They did grow well planted in my flowerbed but were still slower and smaller than the "Wave" petunias. If you want to try some anyway the seeds are available in Canada from http://www.veseys.com/.

The spring seed catalogs should start arriving in the mail early in January regardless of the weather and if you don't already receive them you can order a copy from their websites or over the phone. For more seed catalog links check out http://www.tropicals-north.yk.ca/link.htm or for the definitive list of suppliers and seed catalogs go to http://www.icangarden.com/catalogue.cfm. With a list of 771 it's the largest listing of catalogs in Canada that I know of.

One can only hope that the weather gets back to "normal" soon so the poor squirrels will be able to get the sleep they need so they will be ready to dig up my bulbs in the spring!

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