Ron Wilson Plant of Week
For several years now, we’ve been promoting the Kelloggs Breakfast tomato as the best tasting tomato ever. Bold claims, but it really does have an unbelievable, standout, sweet tomato flavor. But this year, a challenge was made by ‘Big Al’, Straders Garden Centers in Columbus, that we were wrong. Al said it was the Amana Orange tomato that was the best tasting. So the official Tomato Throw-down had begun. Amana Orange vs Kelloggs Breakfast. And the winner would be chosen from taste testing / voting at Tomada Parada and Tomato Dick’s Produce. Saturday, August 12 was the date, and the tasting began. By the end of the day, the winner of the Best Tasting Tomato Throw-down was…..’AMANA ORANGE’! I did my tasting (along with my wife and many others) at the Tomada Parada in Wilmington, and it was very definite…Amana Orange had a much sweeter, even tropical taste to the tomato taste buds. So congrats to Big Al and his Amana Orange, winner of the best tasting tomato. Also a big thanks to Tomato George and Tomato Dick, and to Monte Anderson and Phil Swindler (and everyone who came out to the Tomada Parada). Who will be the next challenger for best tasting tomato? Have one you’d like to nominate? Our taste buds are ready. Ps…at Tomada Parada, the Kelloggs Breakfast was the heaviest tomato, with one weighting in at around 2.5 pounds!
Amana Orange – 76-80 days / Big Heirloom Orange Beefsteak / indeterminate / 1-2 pounds / Named after Amana, Iowa
Joe Strecker Plant of Week
Our plant of the week is one admired by most everyone, and is sure to make you smile when you see one, or two, or a whole field of them. It’s Helianthus (Greek words meaning sun and flower) annuus, or known to you and me as the Sunflower. And today there are so many species and selections of sunflowers available for our gardens it’s simply unreal. I would venture to say most everyone (kids to adults) recognize a sunflower, but here is an annual with a history that goes way, way back, moving across several continents, is used for so many things including a food source, and is a player in our economy as well. Do some research and learn more about this magnificent summer blooming annual, sure to make us all smile. (www.sunflowernsa.com will get you started)
Common crop among American Indian tribes / native to North America but commercialized in Russia then back to North America for hybridization / each sunflower is made up of thousands of teeny flowers called florets / yes, the younger sunflowers may exhibit Heliotropism where they actually move to face the sun, but generally mature flowers face the east / worlds record for tallest sunflower is 27’ grown in Germany / sunflowers can be used to extract toxins such as lead, arsenic, and uranium from the soil and water / harvest sunflowers in the morning / great plant for kids – or anyone to grow!