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Ann Wright: Spring plant sale this weekend

Master Gardeners of Nevada County are delighted to announce our popular, in-person, live plant sale from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 7 – just in time for Mother’s Day! The sale will be held at the Demonstration Garden on the NID Business grounds, 1036 W. Main St. in Grass Valley.

The planning for our spring sale begins in the fall — especially when seed catalogs start filling the mailbox. Master Gardeners choose plants that grow well in our area, as well as previous plant sale super-stars. Seed-starting begins in January, and once plants have been selected, seeds are planted in small soil trays and then transplanted to larger pots for further rooting and growth. Plants being offered for sale are all nurtured and grown locally by Master Gardeners, and we are a licensed nursery so plants are inspected by the county agriculture department prior to the sale. Offering many varieties of ornamental and vegetable plant starts, the Master Gardener’s spring plant sale is brimming with ideas for home gardeners.

The list of plants being offered for sale this year is available to view and download from the public website at http://www.ncmg.ucanr.org. There are two lists — one is a list of vegetable starts, the second is a list of ornamental flowers, perennials and grasses. The plant lists offer photos as well as great descriptions of the fruits, veggies and flowers, including some information about disease resistance. In the veggie department, we are offering a few types of cucumber, several types of herbs, greens, melon and 10 varieties of peppers. And, of course there will be tomatoes for sale! Over 25 varieties of tomatoes are being offered, including cherries, slicers, beefsteak and paste tomatoes.

We include popular open-pollinated, heirloom and hybrid tomato varieties. Open pollinated plants are from seed of plants that have been pollinated by bees, birds, wind and other natural means. Open pollinated plants are considered true to type — meaning true to parent plant, adapting to local conditions and climate over time.

Heirloom plants are those with history behind them such as plants from seed handed down over generations. Heirloom seeds are open pollinated, but not all open pollinated plants are considered heirlooms. Hybrid plants are deliberately pollinated by man with the intention of developing plants with specific characteristics such as color or disease resistance.

Additionally, tomatoes are considered determinate or indeterminate which describes growth patterns. Determinate tomatoes are considered bush-type plants with more contained growth. Once leaf growth is complete, fruit is set with ripening generally at the same time. Determinate tomatoes are good for those who like to freeze or preserve fruit of the season. Indeterminate tomatoes are considered vining tomatoes that seem to meander all over the place and may require caging or staking for support. Indeterminate tomatoes produce fruit throughout the growing season until first frost.

In addition to the vegetables and herbs, flower starts will be abundant this year, including asters, milkweed, cosmos, coreopsis, spirea, sedum and several varieties of dahlia and zinnia.

This year we will also offer fresh flower bouquets in lovely jars hand-painted by a Master Gardener. You don’t want to miss this plant sale! Bring your boxes, wagons, or carts to fill with fresh, locally grown plants. Come early for the best selection. The sale starts promptly at 9 a.m., and lease bring cash or checks only. All money received from Master Gardener plant sales goes directly back to the Nevada County Master Gardener program — and we are grateful to all who attend! We hope to see you there. For any questions, go to the “Got Questions” link on our website, and email your question to us. (We are hopeful that our Hotline in the MG office will be open soon.)

Ann Wright is a Nevada County Master Gardener

Seedlings are started in trays for the Master Gardener’s plant sale.
Photo by Patricia Wolfe, Master Gardener of Nevada County

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