On Gardening: Garden Treasure tomato is a star


Two Garden Treasures have come together for a magnificent purpose and that is getting food to those who need it most. It is a story that is still being written and one that will tug at gardeners’ hearts across the country.

The first Garden Treasure is so aptly named. It is a tomato out of the University of Florida breeding line. It checks off every mark a gardener could ever want. It is a medium sized slicer perfect for some off-the-grill hamburgers.

It has the taste of an heirloom. This is the taste that makes you think this is what eating a fresh tomato is all about. It is the taste that will change a young person’s palette from being squeamish on a tomato to being passionately in love with this fruit of the vine.

Every year horticulturists like myself get bombarded with questions about what is wrong with my tomatoes. I am sure the frustration is so severe that many were asking could my tomatoes get COVID. I am joking and the answer to that is NO. But Garden Treasure is packed with modern day disease resistance.

This University of Florida breeding program did something else and that is give it heat resistance. If you have grown tomatoes, you have become keenly aware that once nighttime temperatures hit 72 degrees, pollination stops and many varieties shut down until temperatures moderate. Usually this means pulling and planting a fall crop later.

Garden Treasure is an indeterminate variety. This means it will keep growing and producing and since it has this heat tolerance you will be harvesting long into the season. It also means you will be using your favorite method of caging, or staking and tying.

This tomato is so good, as is its smaller cousin the semi-determinate Garden Gem, that this enticed Proven Winners to make them the cornerstone of the Proven Harvest section of their award-winning plants. Yes, Garden Treasure has won oodles of awards and the ones you care about.

The awards include Top Performer University of Georgia, Leader of the Pack All Season JC Raulston Arboretum, Top Performer Penn State, Perfect Score All Season Oregon State University and the list goes on. A Garden Treasure indeed, and if you are wondering, Garden Gem has also racked up the awards

The second Garden Treasure is Katie Stagliano from Summerville, South Carolina, the founder and chief executive gardener of Katie’s Krops. It is hard to imagine she is only 22 and yet she is behind the organization’s mission to empower youth to start and maintain vegetable gardens of all sizes, donating the harvest to feed people in need. This magnificent passion and purpose of heart began when Katie was 9 years old and grew a 40-pound cabbage.

Katies Krops now has 100 gardens across the country, and yes, she too touts the wonderful production and award-winning performance of Garden Treasure and Garden Gem. Katie not only works at donating the tasty produce but also uses them in prepared meals that are likewise given away. One of her favorites is a salad where she also incorporates the Proven Winners award-winning sweet italian basil called Amazel Basil.

This basil which alludes to being amazing, actually is, because it just keeps producing. Katie said that while other basils bolt or go to flower, this one simply keeps you in the harvest. She said Garden Treasure and Garden Gem tomatoes are used with Amazel Basil in an incredible pasta with marinara sauce in donated meals. If you would like to explore ways to be a part of Katie’s Krops, go to katieskrops.com.

Search out both transplants or seeds at provenwinners.com. The Garden Guy is so looking forward to spring and that first tomato of the season. Here is hoping you get plants or seeds and have a bountiful summer too.

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