Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tomato Day and Fall Into Gardening - Two Great Events

by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener

14th Annual Tomato Day

This event, held by the Master Gardeners of Penn State, Franklin County, will host lots of visitors on Saturday, August 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Agriculture Heritage Center, 181 Franklin Farm Road, Chambersburg. As in years past, this event will be on the lawn by the stream but this year it is scheduled on a Saturday. No excuse to miss it!
Preparing for the taste test (Laurie Collins)
Tomato Tasting
The most popular destination on Tomato Day is the big tent covering tables laden with 20 or more varieties of tomatoes, cut-up and coded with a letter. Visitors do a blind taste test, recording their rating for taste and appearance. Paste tomatoes, beefsteak, slicing, cherry, and heirloom types are included in the samples.

At the end they receive a key to the codes and discover the names of the tomatoes. The ratings are tallied at the end of the day and posted on the Franklin County, PA Master Gardeners Facebook page.
Salsa Verde (made with green tomatoes (Public Opinion)
Salsa Contest
Everyone is invited to enter the Salsa Contest. Competitors bring their salsa and recipes along with a bag of chips. Although typical salsa recipes are made with ripe red tomatoes, past winners have included a mango salsa and salsa verde (green tomato) variations. Last year’s winner, Charles White, will be among the judges for best salsa but visitors can also taste and vote for the “People’s Choice” award.
Largest Tomato Contest
If there’s a “big ‘un” in your garden that will be ripe around August 23, consider entering this contest. Past winners have clocked in at about 2 pounds. The 4-H Garden Club will be entering and has some mighty big Mortgage Lifter variety tomatoes and one will definitely challenge all comers.
'Mortgage Lifter' in the 4-H Garden
Join the fun and enter the contests. Deadline to register for the Largest Tomato and Salsa contest is August 18. Call 717-263-9226 to register or for more information.
Flower arrangement display

Flower Arrangements
Master Gardeners will display a large variety of floral arrangements using seasonal flowers and greens from both the demonstration and home gardens. These will be on display in the lobby of the Agricultural Heritage Building.  Stop by and get some new ideas of how to display your beautiful blooms.


Fall Into Gardening

A new Master Gardener event this year will be on Saturday, September 6, 2014 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the barn across from the Agriculture Heritage Center, 181 Franklin Farm Road, Chambersburg.

This family-friendly event will have a self-guided tour of the eight demonstration garden areas, a scavenger hunt for younger visitors, a demonstration of planting bulbs for forcing, and a fall plant sale plus interesting exhibits in the Clubhouse near the barn.

Garden areas, created and maintained by the Master Gardeners of Penn State, Franklin County, include drought-tolerant, perennial, herb and pollinator gardens. Stroll through the Woodland Meadow and Native Habitat area and check out the Victory Garden with a variety of vegetables and fruits as well as the new 4-H Achievement Garden.

Pink hyacinth (tomylees)
For the younger visitors up to age 12, accompanied by an adult, there will be a scavenger hunt. Prizes are available for the first 75 participants.

Learn how to plant beautiful flower bulbs that will bloom during both the holiday season and the gray days of winter.
Daylilies to Highlight the Fall Plant Sale

A Fall Plant Sale will be held in the newly renovated holding area near the greenhouse. Locally grown perennials for sun and shade plus a variety of herbs, shrubs and trees will be available. Of special interest is the wide variety of unusual daylilies (Hemerocallis). They won't be blooming  but here are a few waiting for you to grab them up.
'Frances Joiner': This stunning mid-season re-bloomer, is a light yellow with rose eye above a greenish yellow throat
'Francis Joiner'
'When My Sweetheart Returns': A small, single mid-season re-bloomer in pale yellow with rose eye above a greenish yellow throat
'When My Sweetheart Returns' Daylily (Nancy Miller)
'Morning by Morning': Eye-catching fragrant, early season coral pink double flower with dark coral eyezone above a yellow throat
'Morning by Morning'
'My Sweet Rose': A very fragrant, mid-season bloomer in rose pink with cream to deep green throat

Master Gardeners will be available at each of the gardens to answer questions and share information as well as at the Patrick Gass Garden at the north edge of the parking lot on the west side of Franklin Farm Road. This is a work-in-progress project but already has historic plants and information signs.
Free. Parking at the Agricultural Heritage Center lot, west side of Franklin Farm Road.

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