© 2024. Randolph Hub. All Rights Reserved.


Sue Bates / Randolph Hub

Gardening: You can’t eat petunias, so ...

Late last summer, we took a trip to Florence, SC, to meet a friend for lunch and passed a greenhouse and garden center. There I spotted these beautiful hanging baskets with really unique red flowers.


I said, “Oh, please stop, I have to see what’s growing in those baskets.” 


Steve said, “How did you see those hanging baskets on the opposite side of the road while we were going 60 miles per hour?” He just kept driving and I kept wondering what were those beautiful flowers.  


So after lunch, as we were driving back, I reminded him to stop at that garden center. But they were closed by the time we got there — Steve said write the name down and you can call them tomorrow. 


I replied, “Better yet, pull up next to the fence and let me take a picture of them with my Plant Identifying App on my iPhone.”


I blew it up and let the App tell me what it was. I love that technology. When I walked over to the fence and got a closer look, I was surprised.


I got back in the car and said that was easy, the beautiful blooming hanging basket was planted with cherry tomato plants. It was full of red cherry tomatoes with beautiful green vines.


So riding back home, I realized it was too late in our season for me to plant some hanging basket cherry tomatoes but I would remember this for spring of 2023. It was on my To-Do list for sure.


So this spring, I had saved several white hanging baskets from my Christmas Greenhouse freeze episode of 2022. I cleaned them up and got ready to plant.


There are several good varieties that do well. Tiny Tim and Tumbling Tiger are the two I’m experimenting with and I am enjoying watching them grow. I can’t wait to see them full of colorful tomatoes. I’m thinking I am giving up growing petunias and ferns when I can grow hanging baskets with food!


Now to take it a little further.  After I’ve planted my tomato plants in the baskets, I still want them to be pretty, so I also turned them into mini container gardens. Add in some onion sets, sprinkle in a few seeds of oregano, thyme and basil, and you’ve got a beautiful basket to give to a friend. I have friends living year-round on a houseboat and recently took them one of my edible baskets that’s now hanging on the side of their boat.


So another hanging basket idea is cucumbers, and sparmasters or solar bush are good varieties. They like to grow in tight spaces and have smaller root systems.


Most plants labeled as dwarf or patio do well in hanging baskets.  To make my cucumber baskets more attractive and more useful, I like to sprinkle arugula seeds on top of the soil and pinch the grown leaves to add to salads. 


With so many folks downsizing these days as well as for apartment dwellers, these hanging baskets gardens are both fun and rewarding.  Remember, you can’t eat petunias!