What’s In Store: May 19, 2017

Our greenhouses have transformed into tropical paradises this week! With fresh hibiscus, mandevilla, and bougainvillea, we have everything you’ll need to transform your patio into an island oasis! Find an amazing selection of ceramic glazed pottery to complete the look! We also have spectacular, new begonias that now tolerate more sun… perfect for containers and window boxes. Be sure to check out our in-bloom trees, shrubs and perennials too!

Uncle Mike’s Top 10 Tomatoes for Container Growing


I always get asked about growing tomatoes in containers. I tell customers it will be easy and you’ll see success if you remember the following:

1. Bigger is always better. The larger the container, the better the harvest will be. There’s less problems with blossom end rot, lack of water and overall health from lack of nutrients because more soil will hold more nutrients and water.

2. Always fertilize. A container plant will use up the nutrients in the soil quicker than if it was in the ground, so you need to replace this in the form of fertilizer. I recommend planting with a granular like Tomato Tone and adding a water soluble feed like Neptune’s Harvest throughout the season to keep the nutrient levels high in the soil.
3. You are automatically more susceptible to Blossom End Rot in a container. Blossom End Rot is a calcium deficiency not a disease. The cure is adding more calcium to the soil and not treating with a fungicide. You need to fertilize with a feed that contains higher levels of Calcium like Tomato-Tone. It can even serve you well if you add lime or Jonathan Green’s Mag-i-cal to the soil for even more calcium. A calcium-rich soil must be preventative, not reactive to the problem. If you detect Blossom Rot on any of your tomatoes, you’ll need to pick them off and discard. You run the risk of not realizing you have a calcium deficiency until its too late.

4. Try to grow medium to small sized tomatoes instead of the large ones. Large tomato varieties like Big Boy or Beefsteak are less forgiving with lack of water and require lots of room for a big root system.

5. Use the proper soil. I don’t like to use a typical soil-less potting mix because it dries out too fast. You can add a little compost to a regular potting mix or  use our Mahoney’s Organic Potting soil which contains a compost and is a bit denser that our regular soil-less mix.

Here’s my Top 10 Tomato varieties for growing in containers:

Patio: Not a generic term but the variety. A dwarf plant with medium-sized fruit. Good for containers 10″ or larger

Husky Red: a dwarf plant with. Great tasting cherry sized fruit. Good for containers 10″ or larger

Better Bush: a good dwarf plant with small to medium sized fruit. Good for pots 10″ or larger.

Moby Grape: I have to put a grape in the lineup, right? This grape is a determinate variety,  so the plant won get too big.  It’s everything you will expect from a sweet grape tomato. Use a container 14″ or larger.

Totem: Another dwarf plant that stands somewhat vertical so its not a wide one either and the fruit is great good for container 10″ or larger.

Tiny Tim: a very small plant with small, cherry sized fruit. This one is a great conversation piece, it only gets about 12″ tall. Great for a patio table when you have company over. This one will take a very small pot, 6″ or larger.

Jet Star: I often recommend this variety because it’s not too big of a fruit and the size of the plant is not too big either. I love this tomato, it will be quick to produce and it’s a nice medium-sized fruit with a thin skin and also considered to be one of the lowest acid tomato’s out there (not all low acid tomatoes are yellow) Good for pots 12″ or larger.

Black Krim: This is a nice heirloom and medium-sized fruit and plant. Purplish in color and very tasty, good for containers 12″ or larger. Watch out for heavy watering or rain as they come close to ripening because they crack very easy.

Celebrity: This is a medium to large tomato that’s on a determinate vine. If you want to try a large tomato in a container this on is the one to try. Its crack resistant as well. I’d use a pot 12″ or larger.

San Marzano: This is a sauce tomato.  It’s a bush-type plant that will tolerate containers. It’s great for everything from sauces to salads and salsa and cooking.

Marglobe: This is another heirloom with medium size real tasty fruit. This is a heavy producer for an heirloom and a determinate plant. Plant in a pot 12″ or larger.


Theoretically, a tomato can be grown in any size pot if you water and fertilizer well. My recommendations for pot sizes are just that, recommendations although sticking to these guidelines will make it easier for you and less work as you maintain your container garden into the summer.

Now in! Begonias

Some of you might hear the word begonias and instantly think of the tiny flowers your grandmother may have planted in the shade. The reality is, this remarkable group of plants has come a long way, with new introductions each year that are completely awe-inspiring. Paired with foliage plants like caladium or coleus, begonias make a container garden that is out of this world. This season, we love planting  begonias in our European-inspired terra cotta pottery.

With the onset of new breeding initiatives, the selection of begonias available to the home gardener is pretty incredible. At Mahoney’s, we’ve gone a little begonia crazy this season, and are offering more options than ever! With beautiful varieties like Solenia or Elatior. Solenia begonias are one of our favorites for their profuse blooming all season long and their tolerance for sun. Plant in sheltered full sun or part shade for beautiful color all summer long. Look for varieties like ‘Dark Pink’ ‘Red Velvet’ ‘Light Pink’ and ‘Orange’. Perfect for planting in containers or landscape beds.

Elatior begonias, or also known as Reiger begonias, elatiors are found in our greenhouses all year long and are great as houseplants or garden plants in the spring and summer. Available in dozens of bold colors, elatiors prefer part shade to part sun. Look for colors like Dragone White Blush, Dusty Rose, Rio and Batik.

Now In! Tropical Blooms

Our greenhouses have transformed into tropical paradises this week! With fresh hibiscus, mandevilla, and bougainvillea, we have everything you’ll need to transform your patio into an island oasis! The Hollywood Hibiscus Collection features impressive, multi-day open blooms in stunning, vibrant colors. Find varieties like “Hot Shot” and “Gossip Queen”. Tradewinds Hibiscus features exotic blooms in flamboyant, fluorescent colors and their compact growing habit makes them perfect for containers and window boxes. Some varieties include “Cayman Wind”, “Sunny Wind”, and “Tortuga Wind”. Shop now for best selection!

What’s In Store: May 12, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day! Our stores are full of amazing hanging baskets, flowering annuals, great pottery, roses and hydrangeas in bud and bloom, and tons of great gifts for Mom! Be sure to check out our patio furniture in our Winchester and Falmouth stores too!

Local Vendor Spotlight: Neptune’s Harvest

Neptune’s Harvest (a division of Ocean Crest Seafoods, Inc., established in Gloucester in 1965), was started in 1986 an as endeavor to utilize fresh fish scraps left behind after the filleting process. When a fish is filleted, the process of removing the edible portion of the fish leaves behind 70% of the actual fish! Years ago, the scraps left behind were brought out to sea and dumped back into the ocean.


Ocean Crest Seafoods, Inc. and Neptune’s Harvest, along with the state of Massachusetts and local universities, developed a process in which they changed an environmental hazard into an environmental benefit. After years of trial and error, and refining their products, Neptune’s Harvest produces the finest organic liquid fish fertilizers available today. They are derived from the mineral rich Atlantic Ocean–nature’s perfect source for the nutrients plants and soil need.


A few reasons why Neptune’s Harvest is a favorite local product of ours:

  • Locally owned, family-run business in Gloucester, MA
  • 100% organic and eco-friendly–won’t burn plants or roots and does not pollute the environment
  • They use a unique cold process that protects vitamins, minerals, macro and micro nutrients, amino acids, etc–leaving them readily available for your plants
  • Neptune’s Harvest builds sugars in plants, which makes them healthier and less susceptible to fungus, disease, and insect damage
  • Their liquid fertilizer has an indefinite shelf life, until water is added
  • When using it, vegetables, fruit, and herbs taste better; flowers have more vivid colors and blooms are more plentiful and longer lasting
  • Excellent deer repellant too


What’s In Store: May 5, 2017

It’s that time of year when our stores are filled to the brim! Check out beautiful hydrangeas in bud and bloom, stunning hanging baskets, a wide selection of pottery + containers, fresh roses and all the colorful annuals and perennials to make your home and garden sing.

Uncle Mike’s Herbs & Veggies Are Here!

Our greenhouses are filling up with tasty edibles!

Named for Uncle Mike Mahoney, our very own herbs and veggies are grown locally in our Woburn greenhouses. Uncle Mike’s Herbs and Veggies are grown specifically for our Boston Area climate and exclusive to Mahoney’s. We’ve selected the best varieties for top performance. Non-GMO, and grown with Integrated Pest Management  (the good bugs eat the bad bugs) so you can feel good about growing organically at home. Uncle Mike has trialed and tested (and eaten!) each and every variety to ensure a line of edibles that will perform in the home garden.


Now in! Find varieties like Anabelle, Endless Summer, Bloomstruck Blushing Bride, Twist & Shout, Zebra, and Tiny Tuff Stuff! Please not supplies and selection will vary at each Mahoney’s location.


Uncle Mike’s Top 5 Cold Crop Veggies

Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights’ :  So good looking you won’t want to eat Bright Lights. This chard mix has stems in gold, pink and crimson. Harvest young for a sweeter taste, great for salads.


Collard Greens ‘Georgia’: A great performing collard green with a sweet, cabbage-like flavor. Leaves are ruffled and blue-green and taste best when young.


Broccoli ‘Pacman’: The home gardener favorite. Produces large 8″ heads and continues to yield loads of smaller, tender heads on side shoots. Sautee in olive oil and garlic!


Kale ‘Toscano’: A Lacinato or “dinosaur” type kale. The extra large and dark green leaves are savoyed (blistered) and have a more tender taste than regular curly-leaved kales.


Lettuce ‘Mesclun Mix’: The French approach to salad greens–“mesclun” means “mixture.” Early sweet lettuces and tangy, tender greens are pre-mixed to grow together for easy cutting.