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Last updated: Fri. May. 09, 2014 - 07:49 am EDT


Gardening column: Stock up at Master Gardener sale

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It will soon be mid-May, the time we usually plant our annual flowers and vegetables including our tomato plants. This year may be different, but many of us will just plant anyway and for our efforts, receive a lesson in patience.

Until the night-time temperature stays 60-70 degrees, those warm-weather plants will respond very slowly. Having said that, Master Gardeners are optimists, so whatever the weather does, rain or shine, there will be the annual Master Gardener plant sale 1-4 p.m. May 17 at the Allen County Extension Office, 4001 Crescent Ave.

All plants are attractively displayed in the outdoor glade area of the Display Gardens, which are located on the grounds of the IPFW campus.

You need to arrive early and park in the parking garage adjacent to the Extension, then join others in what has traditionally become a very long line. At 1 p.m. sharp the sale begins.

This sale is not only fun, but you will go home with plants that would cost you much more anywhere else. There will be a wide variety of native plants, woody ornamentals, vegetables, annuals and perennials. Some unique bulbs and low-cost tree saplings will also be made available at this sale.

Many of the plants offered are grown by Master Gardener volunteers either in the Display Gardens or their home gardens. The proceeds from these sales go to maintain the Display Gardens and support the Master Gardener program.

In a previous column I wrote about bite-sized tomatoes and have since had questions about where to purchase some of them, especially the (purple in color) cherry tomatoes, Rose Indigo. These were legitimate questions, and I realized I should have found out where the tomatoes could be purchased when writing about them.

I went on a search by phone and Internet and finally came to the conclusion that no one in our area was growing the Rose Indigo and that it could only be purchased as seeds or plants online or by mail order.

In the meantime I had asked a Master Gardener friend on Facebook if she knew where they might be, and while she was helping with my investigation, “friend” Stuckey's Greenhouse (they have a nursery on Tyler and another on Lima Road) responded with this information: “The Rose Indigo is a hybrid, very high in acid. We would suggest you might consider the Chocolate Cherry (an heirloom) as an alternative.” They included a list of their tomato plants — “43 varieties of tomatoes, 15 heirlooms, the largest selection in the area by far. And we 'Grow Our Own.'”

Stuckey's comment solved the problem because again neither my friend nor I could locate the Rose Indigo anyplace in town or at a nearby location.

In the event that some of you may have had the same question, hopefully you will find the available substitutes in Stuckey's tomato list helpful. They have the suggested Chocolate Cherry, the yellow pear-shaped tomato I said would be producing till frost, and one that is an excellent substitute for the Sweet Million cherry tomato — the SuperSweet 100 cherry tomato.

Jane Ford is an Advanced Master Gardener. Email questions to This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of The News-Sentinel.

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