Catch Patsy Bell Hobson trying to take the perfect hummingbird photo in Southeast Missouri where she is growing a privacy screen of red, white and blue morning glories.

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Grow a Patriot’s Garden
by Patsy Bell Hobson    

Growing a red, white and blue garden is as American as apple pie. There are so many all-American holidays; we have plenty of reasons to celebrate in the good old summertime.

Flag Day is on June 14, but the best of all reasons for celebrating is the Fourth of July.

Patriotic Potatoes

There are plenty of garden vegetables that lend themselves to the red-white-and-blue theme. For example, you can grow red, white and blue potatoes. Renee's Garden offers a combination of red, white and blue potatoes. The seed potatoes come in a combo small enough to fit into most any backyard garden space.

Avoid the hassle of digging spuds and grow each color in a Gardener’s Supply Company’s potato grow bag. Few folks have the space to grow a family supply of potatoes. But growing a sampling of patriotic potatoes is like digging for buried treasure at the end of the season. The real advantage is getting to taste varieties of potatoes not easily found in the grocery store or market gardens.

Potatoes do best as a cool-season crop in cool soil. If you would like to try home grown potatoes, pick a spot for your potato patch and begin improving the soil this year. When selecting a site for the potato patch, consider that potatoes are heavy feeders and will need plenty of water.

Invest your time in improving the soil this year to get ready for an early potato crop next spring. At the end of this gardening season, heavily mulch the area. You'll be ready to plant potatoes well before most other crops can be sown. 

Multi-Colored Carrots

Blue foods are relatively rare. Most food crops that are said to be blue are more purple than blue. Red and blue color varieties are produced by anthocyanins. High levels of anthocyanins are what make blueberries blue and ‘Indigo Rose’ tomatoes the latest rage in homegrown super foods.

There is almost always a bit of red in every red/blue food. If we can allow the color blue some leeway, purple foods are easier to find. For example, Nichols Garden Nursery has red, white and blue carrots: ‘Atomic Red’, ‘Lunar White’ and ‘Purple Haze’. (If you are a carrot fan, Nichols has 11 different varieties.)

Red, White and Blue Corn

Not the typical sweetcorn found on Missouri picnic tables, this red, white or blue corn on the cob can serve as decoration or be ground into colorful cornmeal.2

Adding ‘Casperita’ pumpkins to a harvest basket filled with red and blue corn will carry a patriotic garden theme into the fall.1

No grain has a longer history in America than corn. Maize or corn is indigenous to the Americas. If you would like to grow a truly American food, corn is the best choice. Corn grows in various shades of red, white and blue. Try these three varieties of corn, all from Johnny's Selected Seeds, ‘Augusta’ which is white, ‘Jerry Petersen Blue’ and ‘Red Beauty’. If you are growing cornstalks for fall décor, consider a little pumpkin called ‘Casperita’ and have the vines weaving through the red and blue corn.

Tomatoes to Try

America's most popular homegrown vegetable is the tomato. For the earliest crop of red, white and blue tomatoes, grow cherry or saladette tomatoes. Grow Johnny's Selected Seeds’ ‘White Cherry’ for the closest thing to a white cherry tomato. This is a compact plant and a good container choice.

‘Indigo Rose’ tomato is the nearest color to truly blue. Oregon State University horticulture department continues to study this little tomato with high levels of antioxidants. Nichols Garden Nursery and several other seed companies offer ‘Indigo Rose’ seed.

Red cherry tomatoes come in endless varieties. I always have ‘Riesentraube’ cherry tomatoes in the garden. They have been coming up as volunteers for several years. It is a prolific and full-flavored tomato with a pointed blossom end. Originally the plants came from Abundant Acres and the seeds came from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Flowers that Boom

Light up the sky with red, white and blue flowers in hanging baskets. Proven Winners has designed patriotic hanging baskets and has the recipe for planting online. These red, white and blue combinations stretch through Memorial Day and the Fourth of July and continue to hold up for the full summer season.

The step-by-step recipes give you suggestions for the number of plants needed, sun exposure and the basket size. Simply follow plant placement diagrams for any design you choose.

A great advantage at the Proven Winners website is that you can simply type in your zip code to locate the garden center or retailer nearest your home. If you have plenty of room, the sight even has suggestions for an all-red, all-white and all-blue baskets and containers.

Blue and white ‘Mailbox Mix’ morning glories combine to fill a trellis, quickly creating a living privacy screen.1

‘Scarlett O'Hara’ morning glory is a hummingbird magnet and an easy patriotic combo with Renee's Garden blue and white ‘Mailbox Mix’.1


1. Renee's Garden
2. Johnny's Selected Seeds
3. Proven Winners


Posted: 06/10/13   RSS | Print


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