Midsummer Report on Harris Seeds Trials

I’m pleased that Harris Seeds invited me to be part of another Home Garden Trials this season.

Harris Seeds of Rochester, New York, invited members of the Garden Writers Association to once again test flower and vegetable varieties in our home gardens this season.

I’m one of 100 GWA members who selected varieties for planting so we can provide feedback to the company. If the testing works as well as last year, gardeners across the country will see the best selections in the Harris Seed catalog next year.

In addition to the flowers, I’m also testing two kinds of peppers, a new variety of squash, a 2014 All-America Selections winning bean and a side-by-side trial of grafted and nongrafted tomatoes.

Here’s a midsummer’s peek at what’s doing well in my garden:

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The Petunia Wave Medley Collection included Coral Reef Spreading Petunia that I planted in a hanging basket. I planted four plants in the container and it didn’t take long for them to fill in to create a lovely display. The large flowers are a brilliant coral color. I’ve watered the hanging basket every other day–every day in extreme heat–and fertilized every two weeks. I’ve also pinched off the dead blooms to encourage a fuller plant.

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Wave Purple petunias were included in the collection and I planted these in the narrow planting space by the patio. I could have planted the coral and purple petunias together for a spectacular blast of color to enjoy while sitting on the patio.

I’d recommend these petunias to anyone who wants an easy-care flower that will last all season.

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I also chose to trial two different begonias. The Dragon Wing Red begonias have been blooming nonstop all summer. This container gets early morning sun and then it’s shaded for the rest of the day.

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The other begonia is this Santa Cruz Sunset. It also gets early morning sun and shade in the afternoon. These two begonias look lovely planted next to each other because the flowers have a similar color, but entirely different shape. Both of these have been easy to maintain, just regular watering and fertilizing every few weeks.

The Harris Seed vegetable plants are also doing well. It’s still too early here to see the difference in the grafted versus nongrafted tomatoes, but the peppers should be ready to pick and taste-test in the next several weeks.


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