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Tue Oct 22, 2013, 06:59 PM

2 Questions, 1 about heirloom tomatoes and 1 about Rose of Sharon trees


Ever since someone extolled the virtues of Ruskin tomatoes, I've been trying to locate a source where I could buy seeds. I'm desperate enough to buy a case of ripe Ruskins and save the seeds myself, but no luck there either. Repeated attempts to contact the Ruskin (FL) Tomato Festival have proved fruitless. The person who first told me about these wonderous tomatoes lives in FL but is no longer speaking to me because when our other group was planning a meet up, I said if he insisted on wearing that Confederate belt buckle in my sight, I'd rip it off and shove it down his throat. So now - go figure! - he's no longer speaking to me. In fact he grew so loud and obnoxious that I'm far from the only person who went in search of more peaceful pastures.

Anyway, to hear Floridians tell it, Ruskin tomatoes are not only the most delicious on earth but also most prolific with the longest growing season, even well into frost. Sort of like collard greens which taste best after first frost.

(request still stands, although when I just googled the umpteenth time, all of a sudden I saw some new places which hadn't shown up ever before. Maybe those will work out - will keep DU gardeners posted. In the past when I've contacted places they've turned out to be large scale commercial growers only and nobody would send me anything at any price. The Ruskin Tomato Festival people won't even answer at all.)


For the second year in a row now, my Rose of Sharon trees have hardly bloomed at all. I feed and water them faithfully and they get lots of big fat buds but almost never bloom. What gives? They're also in a compatible area too for their lighting needs. I don't have male dogs to pee all over them. There are no apparent pests.

I'm stumped! and way beyond aggravated. Any ideas what might work?

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Reply 2 Questions, 1 about heirloom tomatoes and 1 about Rose of Sharon trees (Original post)
IrishAyes Oct 2013 OP
LiberalEsto Oct 2013 #1
IrishAyes Oct 2013 #2

Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Tue Oct 22, 2013, 07:25 PM

1. All I can say about Roses of Sharon


is that I completely neglect mine but it seems to bloom just fine. I have never fed it, and only watered it a few times when first planted. Are you doing anything differently the past two years? Is the weather doing something different? I'm in central Maryland, by the way.

You might look for your tomato seeds in various seed-sharing groups. I've seen some online when I was trying to find out what a particular variety was called (Black Zebra).

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 22, 2013, 08:17 PM

2. Thank you. Gardeners are the nicest people in the world.

My Rose of Sharon trees are an average of 2-4 years old, liberated from the deserted property behind me in a small town. Just across the alley. They even bloomed better as first years. I don't think the weather's changed noticeably in NE MO. Same gardening zone 5B as southern ME.

Normally I don't frequently deep water more established trees very often, but the new ones I must in the hottest weather or they wilt. I'm also aware that with lilacs you're not supposed to water a 4-year more than once or twice a year, not at all after 7 years. They don't like it and will die on you fast. I don't overfeed the ROS, just a little. I have a green thumb and can grow most roses and veggies and fruits w/o blinking an eye. All my other trees do well. But these transplanted ROS's almost seem to taunt me with those big fat buds that never flower much if at all. They're kept properly trimmed, too, not left to grow rank.

I even posted on Garden Web once. No luck. Tried heritage seed groups, no luck. Ruskin is not technically a separate variety; the soil conditions in Ruskin simply produce ideal results which I could duplicate if I ever got my hands on a single seed. But nobody will tell me what technical variety Ruskin tomatoes come from. I just sent a third FB message to the festival people in hopes that personnel might have changed recently and my plea will fall on kind ears. I even told them I'd settle for one rotten tomato that I could get my own seeds from. Have to wonder if they're not trying to protect their special PR status.

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