GardenMart 2023

UPDATE: In addition, to a terrific talk on roses (see May 15 meeting notice), tonight's meeting will include a "Leftovers Sale" from Saturday's GardenMart. All plants (red sticks) are now $3 each or 4 for $10. We have left limited quantities of tomatoes, peppers, and assorted herbs.

   NOTE: Plant purchases at the meeting are cash or check only. Bring a tray, bag, or box to carry your plants home in. 

    Please be careful not to spill any soil on the meeting room floor or furniture!

BONUS: WE WILL ALSO have $10 packets of Systemic Deer Repellent Tablets for sale. The hosta and daylily society folks swear by these!

The Silver Spring Garden Club's annual plant sale IS back again at Brookside Gardens! The sale starts on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 9:00am and goes until 1:00pm. (Note that many things sell out - so come early for the best selection!)

For shopping:  bring a checkbook* and/or exact change, and have a box or tray to transport your purchases.

There will be NO holds, pre-orders, etc.

Note the plant sale is rain or shine!

The sale is at Brookside Garden's Visitor Center on the Outside Terrace to the Right of the Main Entrance as you face the building.

All plants are locally grown and all proceeds go to the Silver Spring Garden Club ( and a portion will be donated to Brookside Gardens.

*Pre-make your check out to the "Silver Spring Garden Club" then sign and date it -- just leave the amounts blank to fill in at the check out table.

BONUS Sale: Dahlias!
The National Capital Dahlia Society is joining our GardenMart sale again.

GardenMart RAFFLE:
We are also selling Raffle Tickets for $1 each or 6 for $5/12 for $10 - it is best to print out the sheet (see JPG at bottom) and pre-fill these in (address stickers work great for this), to speed up the process. Prize donations so far include: gardening books that we purchased for recent speakers to our garden club that we had signed for just this purpose, garden tools, and more. The drawing will be held at 12noon at the GardenMart on May 13. You do NOT need to be present to win! The prizes will be mailed/delivered to the winners.

We will have Tomatoes, Peppers, Herbs, Annual Flowers,

SSGC Members will be digging and dividing plants from their gardens including Perennials for shade, groundcovers, deer-resistant plants, small shrubs, houseplant divisions, etc.

We also have a limited supply of SYSTEMIC DEER REPELLENT TABLETS - Place in the soil at the plant’s root zone. The bitter flavor is absorbed in the plant’s system and leaves taste awful to the deer. Recommended for hosta, daylily, etc.


Vegetable Growing Tips 

Do NOT let summer vegetable plants (tomato, pepper, eggplant) get chilled to lower than 55 degrees or they are permanently ruined even if they survive. Do not plant summer vegetables too early; if planted late they will easily catch up. Generally, do not plant prior to May 15 unless area is protected. Plants can and should be put outside during the day, but if nights are cool, take back inside. If plants are kept inside too long, they will become “leggy” with weak stems so the plants must get some sun. 

All tomatoes here are indeterminate (they mature throughout the season and not all at once) unless noted. Limited pruning of early suckers

on tomato vines after planting will allow more light and air into the interior of the plant and produce better fruit. Tomato (and pepper) plants should be staked or caged to keep them off the ground, facilitate access, and maximize access to light and air. Tomatoes will require stronger support using heavier gauge wire supports. Tomatoes can be planted deeper up to the lower leaves in shallow trenches as the whole stem will take root and strengthen the plant. Peppers take longer to get going and will generally produce until frost. 

Cool weather crops such as chards and brassicas and most herbs, except basil, should be planted immediately. 

Some plants may be slightly root-bound when removed from seedling pots. Gently break up some of the potting soil to encourage new root growth when planting. Mulch around the base of the plants and do not let it dry out completely. All plants require full sun and good soil for fruit production. Use only organic low nitrogen fertilizer. All plants should do well in larger pots provided the plants are well watered during summer heat. Be patient with all. 

The fruiting plants here are selected for suitability to the middle Atlantic suburban setting. This criteria usually means that plants with smaller but more fruits are selected because they can do with a bit less sun. Most large fruiting plants (think large brandywine tomato or large pumpkin) require a long sunny day over the whole summer. Suburban trees in a mature setting usually do not not permit full sun that garden crops need. Smaller, but more frequent periodic harvests result in less loss to disease and animals. Culinary needs suggest smaller fruits over a longer harvest period. All require full sun. 

Most available in 3 inch pots. Selection subject to change. Tentative List of Vegetables for GardenMart 2023

Currant white tomato (probably Solanum pimpinellifolium)

The closest garden tomato to the original plant from western South America and the least hybridized. Authentic for any historic garden. Plants bear loads of sweet and flavorful ½ inch white-yellow tomatoes in clusters. The fruit is smaller than a cherry tomato. Pick a cluster by cutting the stem like harvesting grapes. Great for garnishes. Plants are vigorous, disease-resistant, and sprawling; plants can grow seven feet tall if properly staked or caged. Some early suckers should be pruned. Will self-sow if given a chance and may hybridize with cultivated tomato species Solanum lycopersicum (and, in fact, is used in modern tomato breeding). 

SunGold and/or SunSugar orange tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) Closely related proven producers and perennial favorites overflowing with an abundance of fruits. Each a bite-size golden beauty: thin-skinned, with a juicy flesh that holds its oh-so-sweet, fresh-from-the-vine flavor. Sometimes called a dessert tomato for its tangy sweetness. An early and a heavy cropper. Cascading vine-y trusses are smothered in fruits. Fruit will crack after a heavy rain. Does well in all summer weather. One of the best home garden tomatoes. Originally developed in England. 

Cherry Pick sweet red pepper (Capsicum annum

Grown before 1860 so authentic for historical gardens. Fruits measure about 1¼ inch and are uniformly rounded. Shaped like bonbons, these little sweet peppers are a good size for lunch box treats, and great for pickling, canning, and stuffing. Because of the thick flesh, they are not good for home drying. Yield is good, with tall, 24 inch, vigorous plants setting loads of sweet, dark green thick-flesh fruits that mature to red that look like big cherries. Let mature totally red for sweetest flavor and vibrant color. Great for cooking (throw handfuls with stem on into the roasting pan with meat and then eat the fruit right off the stem). 

Chesapeake/Baltimore Fish variegated hot pepper (Capsicum annum)

A variegated heirloom used in cooking fish and shellfish and so named because it appears to have originated in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay area in the 19th century. Plants feature decorative green and purple foliage splashed with cream-white. High yields of fairly hot, pointed fruits, about 

2 inches long, range from white with green stripes, to orange with brown stripes, to a brilliant red - some purple, too. Traditionally white fruits were used in cream sauce-based dishes. Fruits will mature to red so keep picking to keep up the changing color display of fresh new peppers. A must-have for any Maryland historical garden! 

Cowhorn red sweet pepper (Capsicum annum

These large, thick-walled cayenne peppers are named for their shape, like a cow’s horn in contrast to the lobed boxy bell pepper. The fruit starts green and turns bright red when mature and are sweet, not hot. Fruits get about 6 inches long. The wrinkled fruit are good for cooking or fresh eating. 

Eldorado yellow paste tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) 

Yellow colored paste fruits with pointed ends are 3 inches long and weigh 4 ounces. Excellent for making yellow pasta sauce. Becuase of lower juice content, they are better for roasting. Also perfect for fresh use, adds interesting color to salsas. Indeterminate. 

Green Zebra green tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) 

Green Zebra is a tomato cultivar with characteristic dark green and yellow stripes. Green Zebra was bred by Tom Wagner of Everett, Washington, and introduced it in 1983. His version is not the first green ripe tomato, however, as there are other green tomatoes. 

There is some controversy as to whether Green Zebra should be considered an heirloom tomato. Some people don't consider it an heirloom quite yet, while others consider it either an heirloom, "modern heirloom" or "created heirloom" (not uncommon these days). 

Even though this tomato is mostly green throughout its lifecycle, it is not difficult to tell when it is ripe. Look for a softening of the tomato and an increase in yellow coloring when compared to other fruits on the plant. For a sweeter tomato leave it on the vine for a little longer. Very nice

flavor and something different. 

Gretel white eggplant (Solanum melongena) 

2009 AAS Winner. A relative from the Old World (India and Southeast Asia) of the tomato, pepper and tobacco, but grows under the same conditions. It tolerates drought and heat a little better. Plants, 18 to 24 inch, are smaller than typical standard varieties and set fruits earlier. Large lavender flowers produce clusters of elongated white fruits. Best harvested young (about 4 inches long) for sweet, bitter-free, seedless eating. Attractive, soft green foliage makes it a natural for containers, ornamentals and gardens. Tender skins and few seeds make this an excellent choice for grilling and sautéing. Harvest frequently to encourage fruit setting throughout the season. Also known as the aubergine. 

Patio choice yellow tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) 

2017 AAS Winner. Enjoy fresh, roasted or sun-dried for a delicious sweet treat. Plants grow 18" and have short vines. Compact plants produce generous amounts of 1/2 oz. cherry fruits. Juicy, delicious and perfect for snacking. Specifically bred for small spaces and container gardening. Determinate. 

Thai Hot Orange pepper (Capsicum annum

This plant is an original that's ornamental as well as edible if you can stand the heat! One small ripe orange pepper goes a long way in cooking. You will get a warm feeling knowing you are using your own home-grown herbs in your home cooking. Small, pointy pods are good in traditional Oriental dishes. Its bushy plants are covered with orange peppers that start out green in color, then mature to bright orange as they grow up to 2 inch long. You'll appreciate their beauty in borders and containers, and savor their flavor in the kitchen. If undisturbed, the ripe peppers will dry on the plant and remain attached during winter; a couple hundred hot orange peppers make a colorful and warming display against the cold white snow of winter!

"Where's the heat" Habanero yellow sweet pepper (Capsicum annum

A pepper that looks like a traditional habanero, but without most of the heat. Colorful fruits grow 1 to 1-1/2 inch long and mature from green to bright clear golden yellow. Extremely flavorful fruits and can be used for cooking, pickling or fresh eating. Good right off the plant. When you cut open a ripe pepper you get an intense fruity perfume smell. Sturdy plants grow 2 feet tall and are very prolific and a good conversation piece. Looks great in the garden with bright yellow fruits against green foliage. Plant will mature more slowly than other peppers. Large, upright plants create a nice canopy to protect fruits from sunscald. 

Plum Yellow paste tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) 

Yellow tomatoes are rather sweet, and often taste milder and less acidic than red tomatoes because the different pigments in various colored tomato varieties produce different balances of sugars and acids. Compared to juice tomatoes, plum tomatoes (sometimes called grape tomatoes) have a lower moisture content. Plum tomatoes have fewer seeds compared to cherry tomatoes. The sweet acid flavor and the soft texture of plum tomatoes will make an excellent tomato sauce. 

To make a light yellow pasta sauce, gently saute yellow onions, yellow peppers (sweet and hot), bulb fennel, and garlic in olive oil with some salt until soft. Deglaze with a little white wine. Blanche yellow tomatoes (half juice and half paste), remove skins, crush and add to sauteed vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add spices such as oregano or golden tyme. Serve on favorite pasta or freeze. Freezes well so you can enjoy summer harvest during the winter. 

Zapotec red ribbed tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) 

Supposedly dates back to the Zapotec Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico. Large, deeply ribbed, pink/red fruits grow up to 4" in diameter, have a yellow blush, weigh up to 1 lb. Fruits are somewhat hollow, have sturdy walls and a mild, sweet flavor. Ideal for stuffing, baking and grilling. Indeterminate. The smooth round shape of modern tomatoes is a modern development to make tomatoes "more marketable."

Herb plants 

Basil (several types), Borage, Calendula, Chamomile, Dill, Fennel, Lavender, Lemongrass, Milkweed, Marjoram, Oregano (hot and spicy), Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon and Thyme. All umbelliferous plants are great pollinators for beneficial insects. Mediterranean herbs like well drained ground and usually require a sweeter soil, so adding some lime to the ground or pot is a good idea. Crushed sea shells sold as chicken grit works nicely to add lime over time.


Annual Flowers List for the SSGC GardenMart 2023 Sale
Here is the list of annual flowering plants we have ordered for our plant sale (selection subject to last-minute change.)


In addition to these listings, SSGC members are potting up plants from their own gardens including lots of beautiful perennials, native plants, shrubs, etc.!


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