All I can say is wow… I’ve never seen so many people excited to buy plants at a plant sale. This is just a general picture of the crowd (and it was raining!). But when the gates opened a huge line of a few hundred people came in and made a beeline to the… tomatoes.
This is my first year as a Master Gardener (MG) and this plant sale has been one of the most talked about events we participate in. MG’s work most of the year to prepare… which includes growing a lot of plants. The big push comes in the spring when its time to divide perennial… you can drop off what you dont want to keep at home and there are MG’s who will pit them up for the sale. Some MG’s make wonderful crafts such as outdoor seats that have plants growing on then, beautiful container plantings, and general garden art.
This year I worked in the herb section of the plant sale and learned a lot from the other MG’s about the tips and tricks to grown herbs in the Pacific Northwest. I learned that people really don’t understand that cilantro goes to seed so fast they can buy it from us but will need to be replanted in 3 weeks to keep a fresh harvest. I learned that the tarragon you want for cooking is only the French kind.
But the biggest drawn for the public are the tomatoes. There are many thousands of tomatoes and many many varieties. Some are grown by MG’s and some are ordered special for this sale. The tomato area is at the very back of the sale but its the first place people make the bee-line for when the gates open. Its great to see people (often men) pulling carts, wagons, and kids quickly through the sale to get their first choice of tomato starts.