Local Plant Sales

Despite my best efforts to stay away from plant sales this year, I’ve been to two sales recently. Saturday, I worked the Master Gardeners of Thurston County 2010 plant sale.

There were oceans of edibles, hostas, bulbs, small potted conifers, various buckets of bamboo and a large assortment of native, hardy plants to fill your landscape. I was working a busy register for most of the time. It was really fun to be on that side of the plant sale. I got to see everything as it headed out to its new home and talk to everyone about their plans for their plants. I was exhausted just thinking about the collective hours of digging. I was pleased with everything I brought home – a beaked hazelnut, a giant bucket of black bamboo, two weird tomato varieties, some sedum for Krista, cheap chives, and a random sword fern for a shady spot in our yard.

A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to visit the Seattle Tilth edible plant sale and visit the demonstration gardens with my dear friends Max & Emma and their posse. Seattle Tilth always dresses to impress, and the edible plant sale was no exception.

The scope of the varieties available was amazing. Seattle Tilth hit the sweet spot with lots of variety suited to every purpose. Most of the plants were heirlooms; some were even from the Slow Food USA Endangered Flavors list (Arc of Taste). I managed to bring home only a handful of plants, including a few weird tomatoes, two hot peppers, and a handful of herbs I couldn’t live without. The funny thing is, my intent was to buy a lot of one variety of alpine strawberry I had researched beforehand, but I couldn’t find them. I even looked under the tables! And I have been on a mission to find a green zebra tomato plant, since it’s the only thing Krista requested this year. Tilth was supposed to have it, but they didn’t. But it’s okay. Gardens fill themselves. I’ll find a green zebra somewhere else, or I will grow it from seed next year. I don’t *need* alpine strawberries.

I do recommend this plant sale to anyone interested in high-quality plants or heirloom varieties. Usually you have to raise everything from seed yourself if you want to grow weird stuff, but Seattle Tilth makes it easy to buy starts. In case you missed it but it sounds interesting to you, they are selling more on May 22. Click here for more info.

So now we’re raising eight varieties of tomatoes. Plant sales are dangerous, I tell you!

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4 Comments

Filed under garden, spring, urban farming

4 responses to “Local Plant Sales

  1. Emma

    Oh no (!!), I think I saw alpine strawberries at the tilth sale, I didn’t know you were looking… Do you know if the Thurston Co. one plans to do another sale? We were out of town and I think I need black bamboo.

    • jess s

      I am going to bum some alpine strawberries off a friend, hopefully, and just propagate them myself. DIY, right?

      The Thurston Co. sale is just one day a year. If my black bamboo grows, I am willing to split it and share with you if you can wait some months. It’s the running sort of bamboo, so it seems inevitable that I’ll have too much.

  2. Eight varieties of tomatoes? Wow… I am the only one who eats them here and am quickly overrun with big and small ones at harvest time.

    • jess s

      Oh goodness, it is so much extravagance and shameful indulgence to grow so many tomatoes, I know! We love tomatoes and everyone in the house will eat them for every meal when things get going, so it’s not a waste of our time. But it is *insane.*

      We were harvesting over 50 lbs a week in August last year. We grew 11 varieties, but only 1 plant per variety. This year we have six each of three varieties, and one each of the other five varieties. Egads, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

      Hopefully we will dry/can/sauce/preserve a lot of them to bring some sunshine to our winter cupboards!

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