ASK THE GARDENERS. Questions & Answers

Q We are looking for a seed company that supplies seeds of pink tomatoes. For many years we have grown ``Tucker Pinks.'' We got the seed from Wisconsin many years ago, but have had to save our own seeds, as they are no longer available commercially. Each year the quantity and quality have been decreasing, so that we feel we must have new vigorous seeds of another variety. I have written to two seed companies but they do not carry them. We like the taste of pink tomatoes and hope you can help us find a source of supply. K. & K.S.


A beefsteak type called Ponderosa Pink is listed by Park Seed Company, Greenwood, SC 29647; Vermont Bean Seed Company, Fair Haven, VT 05743; and Stokes Seeds, Box 548, Buffalo, NY 14240. Stokes also lists Early Detroit and Olympic. Burpee Seed Company, Warminster, PA 18974, lists Pink Girl Hybrid, which is resistant to tobacco mosaic, Verticillium, and Fusarium wilts. Tomato Growers Supply Company, PO Box 2237, Fort Myers, FL 33902 also lists Pink Girl Hybrid and another called Pink Delight Hybrid. Harris Seeds, 961 Lyell Ave., Rochester, NY 14604 lists Hybrid Pink Girl, as does Gurney Seed Company, Yankton, SD 57079. All the above companies list orange and/or yellow tomato varieties, along with a long list of good red varieties.

Q I am ready to give up on Boston ferns. They are bushy for the first year, but after that they become sparse looking. Quite awhile ago I repotted my oldest fern and it has just begun to put out new fronds, but it isn't full as it should be. My mom used to say Boston fern should be cut back at the end of its growing cycle, but I am not sure when that is. Any advice would be appreciated.


Randallstown, Md.

In their native tropical or subtropical habitat, Boston ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata ``Bostoniensis'') grow where the climate is humid, the soil moist and full of humus, and the temperature 60 to 85 degrees F. Our modern homes are too dry to raise good Boston ferns. With proper conditions, they do well in filtered light and need no cutting back. They did well when homes had parlors, with plenty of humidity and room to spread out. We suggest you try growing Dallas, a sport of Boston fern. It was discovered by an amateur fern propagator and is distributed by Casa Flora in Dallas. Most florists now handle this beauty. It remains compact, vigorous, and soft-looking, and requires little care except watering enough to keep it constantly moist, and feeding about once a month with a liquid houseplant food. We have been trying them for two years, under various conditions, and find them exceptional. They will tolerate low light, or bright light with no direct sun. On our sun porch they tolerate 50 degrees F. in winter; and in summer, 90 degrees didn't faze them.

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