Friday, November 20, 2020

 Welcome To The Rusty Hoe

Nursery and Produce Website!

2021 Cold Crop Vegetable Plants 

$1.25 per 4pk, $1.50 per 6pk

View Complete List HERE!

Hello, Freinds! My name is Angie, and I'm the co-owner (along with my mother, Violet Bledsaw) of the Rusty Hoe in Lamar, Arkansas. I designed and built this website myself, and all of the images were taken on our grounds. If you happen to find any mistakes, broken links, or typos - please drop me an email at: or call me at: (479) 214-8860. I'll be adding more content and updating the images as we enter the 2021 growing season - so set those bookmarks - and be sure to check back often!

We also invite you to follow us on Facebook! 

Our business page is here: Rusty Hoe Online

And my personal page is here: Angie

Using the tabs above, you'll be able to navigate our entire website. Use your browser's back button to return to the previous page you were on, or select another tab above to continue surfing the website. We hope you enjoy your visit, and encourage you to leave us some feedback on the comment sections at the bottoms of select pages! Please let us know if there's anything you'd like to see added to the website, or if there's anything we can do design-wise to make your experience here more enjoyable. We update the website monthly, so for the fastest news of new plants, produce, or sales events - you'll want to follow us on Facebook. 

We, at the Rusty Hoe, know you can purchase plants almost anywhere now days, including grocery stores and hardware stores. There are several commercial greenhouses and plant producers in the area as well. So, why should you choose the Rusty Hoe?

  1. We offer the lowest prices in the entire Arkansas River Valley.
  2. We're as dedicated to teaching you how to grow a plant as we are to providing plants for purchase.
  3. You have the right to be selective in the plants you choose to purchase. You will not find root-bound, diseased, stressed, or pest ridden plants at the Rusty Hoe.
  4. We grow the same plants in our gardens (and sell the produce) as the plants we offer for purchase. At any time, you're encouraged to tour our gardens and see how our plants perform in Zone 7, Arkansas ground, and ambient conditions.
  5. We grow our plants from only non-GMO and heirloom seed stock, and while we are not certified organic, we do grow our plant stock as naturally as possible.
The Rusty Hoe Difference does not stop there! We have a very strong sense of commitment to our community, and we strive to make plants and fresh produce available at zero cost to those in need. Our Blessings Box distributed over 300 pounds of fresh produce in 2020, and we were able to give away over 40 flats of vegetable plants. We hope to top this effort in 2021!

Our vision for the future is to see food plots growing in every lawn in Johnson county, and container gardens growing on every porch and patio. In an ever changing economy and uncertain times, there is no need to be scared - if you're prepared! Whether you own a 40 acre farm, or live in a high rise apartment building in the city - you can grow something to eat. It's our mission to help guild you every step of the way from consumer to producer.   

So, welcome, Friends - Now, Lets Get Growing! 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Park's Whopper


At the Rusty Hoe, we don't carry a large variety of hybrid tomatoes, but there are a few distinct varieties that have truly impressed us - and the Park's Whopper is one of those. These tomatoes are very large, sandwich-style, meaty, and an early producer. 
The indeterminate vines continue to produce until frost. These vines are vigorous, and the fruit sets are weighty, so be sure to stake or cage well.

Resistant to verticillium wilt (V), fusarium wilt races 1 and 2 (F), nematodes (N), and tobacco mosaic virus (T).

Maturity: 65 days

Plant Availabiliy: To Be Announced

Plant Sizes: 4 to 6 count cell packs, 36 to 48 count flats, gallons


The Homestead tomato is one of the heirloom varieties that we at the Rusty Hoe practice seed stock saving with. We've grown these beautiful tomatoes from our own saved seeds for over four years now, with consistent large crops. 

Homestead are an extremely heat-tolerant, heirloom variety developed by the University of Florida and released in the 1950s. Will set fruit in high-heat, high-humidity areas making them a perfect choice for Zone 7, Arkansas gardeners. 

Being a determinate variety, unlike other commercial nurseries and retailers, we at the Rusty Hoe do not keep these plants on the shelves after the first bloom-set. We continue to seed and grow new plants throughout the growing season, so you always get plants well ahead of that first bloom-set.  

Type: Determinant

Maturity80 days 

Plant Availability: To Be Announced

Plant Sizes: 4 to 6 count cell packs, 36 to 48 count flats

Black Krim

One of our all-time favorites, offering a dark red-purple fruit, with a rich sweet flavor. The Black Krim always places high in tomato taste trials. It’s very juicy with an intense rich, clean, earthy, almost smoky flavor that delivers a sweetness balanced by notes of acidity, giving it a distinct, slightly salty taste. 

The Black Krim is an heirloom tomato originating from Crimea, a peninsula in the Black Sea disputed between Ukraine and Russia. "Krim" is the Ukrainian word for Crimea. The plant is open-pollinated, indeterminate, bearing 8 ounce flattened globe fruits that are dark reddish-purple to black with green/brown shoulders.

Being indeterminate, this is a variety that we allow to grow to the gallon container size. 

Maturity: 80 days

Type: Indeterminate, Heirloom

Plant Availability: To Be Announced

Plant Size: 4-6 count cell packs, 36-48 count flats, 4" round pots, gallons

Sun Sugar


These prolific little beauties live up their name with their sweet taste.  Like candy from the garden, Sun Sugar's tiny cherry tomatoes are super-sweet and oh-so-snackable. If you don't end up gobbling them up while you harvest, bring them inside for use on salads or as snacks for your kids. 

These tomatoes are called “yellow cherry” but are actually orange when at the peak of ripeness. Being an indeterminate variety, you can enjoy abundant fruit for the entire growing season! Sun Sugar tomatoes also grow very well in hanging baskets. They aren't the best choice for container gardening, however, because the vines can grow up to 4 feet tall (or long, in a basket).

The Sun Sugar tomato seeds that we use at the Rusty Hoe are non-GMO and organically produced. 

Type: Indeterminate
Maturity: 70 days
Plant Availability: To Be Announced
Plant Sizes: 4-6 count cell packs, 36-48 count flats, gallons

Arkansas Traveler (Traveler 76)

As the name suggests, this tomato hails from the state of Arkansas, where it was bred at the University of Arkansas by Joe McFerran of the Horticulture Department. He released the tomato to the public in 1971 under the name “Traveler 76.” It wasn't until later that it gained the name of its home state.

This heirloom variety is prized for very flavorful, medium-sized tomatoes that resist cracking and keep on coming, even in drought and hot weather. Taste is mild, like the pink color of the fruit. Indeterminate vines do best in tall cages.

Type: Indeterminate, Heirloom

Maturity: 75 days

Plant Availability: To Be Announced

Plant Sizes: 4-6 count cell packs, flats (36 to 48 plant count), gallon

This is a variety that we often allow to grow all the way to gallon sized containers because, being indeterminate, they will continue to produce after the first bloom-set until the end of the growing season. 


Rutgers Tomato

The Rutgers tomato, also commonly known as the Jersey tomato, was named by developer Lyman Schermerhorn in honor of its birthplace at Rutgers University in New Jersey. This high-acid, high-sugar tomato was developed in the New Jersey Agricultural experiment station and the Campbell’s Soup Company’s Riverton, New Jersey research facility. Rutgers tomato, Lycoperscion esculentum, is an open pollenated, beefsteak type tomato from the Solanacese family. The original Rutgers tomato was created by crossing the older Campbell’s J.T.D. tomato with the very popular Marglobe.

Rutgers tomatoes were the most popular tomato in the world prior to mechanized farming. Favored by Campbell’s Soup Company for its rich and sweetly acidic taste, Rutgers was also a top choice for other companies such as Heinz and Hunt’s. The thin-skin of the Rutgers tomato proved difficult for automated picking and its commercial use declined after 1960.

The Rutgers tomato is an heirloom variety which can be both determinate and indeterminate. Rutgers tomatoes grow best in full and direct sunlight in soil with a Ph balance between 6 – 6.8. The determinate variety grows like a shrub and reaches up to 4’ in height, bearing fruit within 60-100 days. Once fruits set, the bush begins to die back. Indeterminate varieties grow vines that must be supported by cages or stakes with large first crops and smaller subsequent crops until first frost.

We sell Rutgers tomatoes at our produce stand, and use them in our kitchen. They are a wonderful medium-sized canning tomato, with very small cores. 

Because Rutgers can be both determinate and indeterminate, this is one variety that we keep "post-bloom". Unlike other commercial greenhouses and growers, we pull our determinate tomato plants off the shelves if they haven't sold after the first bloom-set, because they will never set fruit as abundantly again. 

Plant Availability: To Be Announced

Plant Sizes: 4 and 6-cell packs, full (36 or 48 plant count) flats, 4" round pots, gallons

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Rusty Hoe Strawberries

"So, what kind of strawberries are these?"

When I’m asked this question, I always answer with; “The best kind, of course!” However, truth be told, I have no idea what the actual variety might be. Several years ago, I started a small strawberry patch on Ozone mountain and at the time I know I had Ozark Beauty, Cardinal and Chandler. Over the years, I harvested the “runners” from those original plants and brought them here to Lamar. In 2020, I added Sweet Charlie to the mix and planted several of those runners as well. Now it’s anyone’s guess on which is what!

Back when the above ground pool was all the backyard rage, we put a big 18-footer in for the kids. Over time, they lost interest in keeping it maintained, but it had sat there long enough on it’s leveling bed of sand to make a permanent bald spot in the yard. Since the strawberry crop I had at Ozone was thriving in the sandy soil up there, I thought the old swimming pool spot might be good for a new berry patch here, and that’s how we ended up with the round strawberry patch with goodness only knows what type of strawberries growing in it!

If you find yourself with a similar backyard bald spot, it’s super easy to convert the area into a delicious strawberry patch.

Getting Started

You’ll need a bale of peat moss and a bale of garden soil, strawberry plants, a bale of straw (or mulch), black plastic, and a shovel. I used rock from the yard to hold everything down, but if you don’t have rocks to use you’ll need something to secure the plastic to the ground.

Step One

Using the shovel, mix the peat and potting mix thoroughly into the sandy area where the swimming pool once was. Then “windrow” the mixture into hills and valleys.

Step Two

Cover the hills with black plastic, line the valleys with straw or mulch.

Step Three

Poke holes into your plastic on the hilltops about 6 inches apart and plant your strawberry plants like “ducks on water” - which means, just barely push the roots into the soil mixture. They’ll make their own way down into the soil below.

Step Four

Water the hills in, but don’t drown the area. The straw or mulch will hold in the water and leech it to the hills as needed so you won’t need to water very often (if at all.)

Tricks of the Trade

  • Never allow the strawberries to come into contact with soil. If the developing or ripening berries touch the soil, they will form a fuzzy mold and rot on the vine.
  • Pinch off all of the fall "runners" and plant them in containers - then you can replant them outside in the early spring and never have to buy strawberry plants again!

Best Time To Plant: December through early April.
Plant Availability: January - April 2021 (Then in containers and hanging baskets only)
Produce Availability: To Be Announced
Variety: A mix of Cardinal, Ozark Beauty, Chandler, and Sweet Charlie in 6-packs

Anaheim Chili Pepper

Plant Availability: April - September 2021 

Produce Availability: To Be Announced

Price: To Be Announced

Maturation: It can take up to 80 days for Anaheim peppers to mature

Plant Size: A mature Anaheim pepper plant will usually be between 18 and 24 inches tall.

Scoville scale: From 500 to 2,500

These mildly sweet chili peppers are generally bright green to lime green in color. The pepper skin can be waxy, glossy, and semi-thick. The chili peppers average 5 inches in length at maturity and are long and slightly curved. The Anaheim chili is typically used in canned green chili and makes an exceptionally mild but fresh salsa with just the right kick of heat.

Depending on where the Anaheim chili pepper was grown, the range on the Scoville scale can be from 500 to 2,500, making the Anaheim a very mild to moderate hot pepper. Grown at the Rusty Hoe, our Anaheim peppers are very comparable to a Pablano in heat.

You may also know the Anaheim pepper as a Hatch pepper. The plants are the same, but location is critical to the name and the level of heat. The Anaheim chili is grown in Anaheim, California and is on the miler side, while the Hatch chili is grown in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico near the town of Hatch and tends to be much hotter.

We plant all of our Anaheim Chili Peppers from non-GMO seed stock into our specially blended potting mix. Shortly after germination, we carefully hand-transplant the seedlings into either 6 or 4 count cell packs. Our peppers are available in this size until they exceed the root space, at which time we re-pot into 4 inch round pots, and even later in the season we move them up to gallon sized containers. 

Because of the extended growing season that we enjoy here in Arkansas, the Rusty Hoe will have a full line of peppers on our shelves from April until September 2021. 


Growing Red Pontiac Potatoes in Containers

At the Rusty Hoe, we plant potatoes in both the garden and in containers. We use 25 gallon cattle supplement buckets for our containers. Our favorite variety is the Red Pontiac. A red-skinned early main crop potato variety originally bred in the U.S., the Red Pontiac, is sold in the United States, Canada, Australia, Algeria, the Philippines, Venezuela and Uruguay. It arose as a color mutant of the original Pontiac variety in Florida, by J.W. Weston in 1945

Locally, you can purchase seed potatoes at both of the downtown CoOps and BP Nursery in Clarksville. At the Rusty Hoe, we save potatoes from the previous year for our seed potatoes. You can do this too, by picking a few select potatoes from your crop that have several eyes (sprouts) on them. We wrap our seed potatoes in brown paper bags and store them in a dark and cool place. Do not allow your saved potatoes to freeze! We store ours in our pantry, but any dark space inside your house will suffice. 

You will need large containers for potatoes. We use 25 gallon cattle supplement buckets that we've drilled holes in for drainage. To begin, you'll need straw, garden soil and compost, 10-20-10 fertilizer, and your prepared potato "eyes". 

  1. Mix your straw, garden soil, and compost in equal parts, then add a 4-6 inch layer to the bottom of your container. 
  2. Cut Side DOWN - arrange your potato seed eyes on top of this mixture, allowing about 2 inches between each eye.
  3.  Add another 4-6 inch layer of your soil, straw, and compost mix.
  4. Add 10-20-10 pelletized fertilizer according to package directions for your container size. If you're using cattle supplement buckets, sprinkle 1 Tablespoon on top of soil mixture.
  5. Water very well.
As the vines grow, continue to add layers of your soil mixture until you reach the top of your container. You may harvest “new potatoes” as soon as plants begin to flower, about 10 weeks after planting. Harvest mature potatoes about 15 weeks after planting. When harvesting new potatoes work carefully to disturb the plants as little as possible.

You'll know when it's time to harvest by the look of your potato vines if you lose track of the weeks. When the vines begin to yellow, lay over, and die back - it's time to harvest! 

The very best part of growing your own vegetables is eating them! One of our favorite ways to eat Pontiac Red Potatoes is oven-roasted in olive oil and herbs.