Friday, October 15, 2021
Oct. 15, 2021

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Gardening with Allen: Score a win with these flower, veggie seeds

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Zinnia Queeny Lime Orange grow to about 24 to 30 inches and make a nice cut flower.
Zinnia Queeny Lime Orange grow to about 24 to 30 inches and make a nice cut flower. (Photos by Allen Wilson) Photo Gallery

I receive seed samples of All-America Selections vegetables and flowers each year to observe their performance here in Vancouver. I start the seeds inside and transplant them in my garden.

Here are the varieties that grew best for me.

Pea Snack Hero germinated and grew vigorously from a direct outdoor seeding. It produced two good batches of pods, which were eaten both raw and cooked. It is sweet and delicious both ways. This type of pea, eaten pod and all, has become one of my favorite vegetables. Next year I plan to make two or more sowings at three week intervals.

I have grown several Chef’s Choice tomatoes the last two years. All have received All-America Awards in recent years. I have been most impressed with Tomato Chef’s Choice Orange which has been the earliest and highest yielding for the past two years. Fruit ripens a deep orange color which is quite attractive as well as tasty. Fruit is reasonably early for a large tomato.

I have planted two award-winning zinnias the past two years that have both produced beautiful displays. Zinnia Queeny Lime Orange flowers open lime color and gradually change to orange. Plants grow about 24 to 30 inches tall and produce a good show of flowers from July onward that are suitable for cutting. They grew especially well in a raised grow box with artificial soil mix.

Zinnia Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor is a new color in this series that is becoming increasingly popular. Plants grow about 10 to 12 inches tall and spread quickly to fill a bed when planted 10 inches apart. Profusion Red Yellow bicolor flowers open red and yellow but the yellow changes to pink shades. It performs beautifully where you might otherwise plant petunias, begonias or marigolds.

Celosia Persian Garden is a lavender rose spike flower that grows about 24 to 30 inches tall. It looks best if fronted by something shorter like alyssum. It is also suitable for the center of large containers and for cut flowers.

Petunia Wave Carmine Velour was my favorite flower this year. It is the newest color in the Wave series of petunias. Velour is a deep, non-fading rose red. Wave petunias grow like an ocean wave that just keeps coming and coming. Planted in a raised bed, Wave Carmine branches grew over 3 feet long.

You can find more information and specific seed sources for all these varieties at All-America Selections online.

Profusion zinnia and Wave petunia plants are widely available at nurseries and garden stores. You may not find these two colors separately. Zinnias and peas are easily started from seed planted in the ground. If you cover zinnia seeds with clear plastic, it warms the soil so that they come up more quickly. I have also started tomato seeds outside in early April by placing a plastic milk jug with the bottom removed over a cluster of three or four seeds.