The following design idea has been supplied by Pamela Crawford
I planted flowers around this ‘Patio’ tomato because I wanted the tomato to look good. The flowers added the additional benefit of increasing the lifespan of the container by a full three months because they lasted much longer than the tomato (although it lived long enough to produce 22 tomatoes).
It was quite difficult to get used to mixing vegetables and flowers. I kept thinking that they looked so different and they needed to be separated. However, I realized that my attitudes were based on what I had seen, and historically, vegetables have seldom been used as part of a container design that is mainly flowers. But, as time went on and I gained experience by planting hundreds of vegetable/flower combos, I began to like the combinations that had seemed so foreign. This tomato/flower combo is one of my favorites!
Light: Full sun, at least six hours per day
Season: Warm season, when temperatures range from mid 70’s to 90 degrees (tomatoes pause when the temperatures get too hot and stop producing fruit; they start again as the temperatures cool in the fall. The plants stay alive well into the mid-90’s). The scaevola needs heat to grow and bloom well. Don’t be surprised if it looks bad right after planting and for up to a few weeks. Afterwards, it perks up soon enough, but doesn’t really take off until the weather is pretty hot. The tomato needs nights in the 70’s to produce flowers.
Lifespan: The tomatoes lasted two to three months. I trimmed off their branches after they started looking bad, and the rest of the flowers lasted a total of six months.
Care: Fertilize on planting day with a slow-release mix. Repeat, if the leaves look yellowish or washed-out, although the fertilizer should last from six to nine months. I trimmed it occasionally to keep it looking even.
Water: Water thoroughly, if the plants show signs of wilt or the soil feels dry when you push your fingertip into the potting mix. I watered this one every day (after it was about a month old) in mid summer and every other day in cooler weather.
Troubleshooting: Lantana are poisonous, so be sure not to eat them! Tomatoes have some pest problems. The flowers are really easy, with relatively no problems.
Planting Plan: Alternate the begonias, lantana, and scaevola in the side holes and along the edge of this side-planted container. Plant the tomato as the centerpiece.
Container: Kinsman’s double basket (20”W x 11”D) on a 48-inch border column.
Installing the Column: The 48-inch column is sold in a kit that installs easily and fits this planter well. The product number is ZGBC48. Shop for it at Kinsman Company . To see a 3.5 minute video of its installation, go to www.sideplanting.com and watch Part 6, Patio Stands and Border Columns.
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About Pamela Crawford
Best-selling author Pamela Crawford has written 5 container gardening books about combinations that she has planted and grown at her home. Her creations are not only beautiful but easy to grow as well. easygardencolor.blogspot.com