Saturday morning, while H went out for a road ride, B and I drove up to the city to check out the Wasatch Community Gardens annual plant sale. I'd read about it in the paper and was intrigued by the nursery quality plants at big box store prices, plus I was happy to support the WCG. What I didn't expect was how big and popular this plant sale is. I had to drive around several times before I finally found parking several blocks away. As I searched for a spot, I goggled at the hordes of people streaming towards the sale, toting laundry baskets, lugging little red wagons, trundling wheelbarrows. I was sorely unprepared!
The plant sale was impressive and very well run. You walked in past a fleet of food and coffee trucks and were handed a seedling tray if you didn't bring a carry container of your own. They had over 60 (!!) varieties of heirloom tomato seedlings and people were queuing up to peruse the tables. Scores of volunteers ran back and forth, asking us what kind of tomato we were looking for, explaining the different varieties, fetching seedlings. Past the tomato section (which was by far the largest) lay the other annual veggies, then the fruits and berries, then the perennial herbs, then seed potatoes and onion sets, with water-wise/native plants and flowers as well. Everything was clearly marked with colored tags; there were signs everywhere explaining how much each color cost. After you picked out your plants, the line to check out was long but moved very quickly through the corral. At the head of the line, the volunteer directed you to another volunteer with a numbered clipboard who noted and totaled all purchases on a slip. Then you moved to a tent to pay, cash and checks on the left, credit cards on the right, and you were out. The efficiency of the system was impressive.
For a mere $20. I ended up with three tomato seedlings - Ananas Noire (which will have green/yellow/purple striped fruit), Black Cherry cherry tomatoes, and 1884 (dark pink, good for slicing) - a six-pack of strawberry plants ("Seascape") and a cute little lavender. I planted everything Sunday afternoon, putting the tomatoes in pots this year (I'm cutting back on my gardens to conserve water/time). I'm very hopeful about the tomatoes - I like that I picked some funky, unusual heirloom varieties - and hope that they come through for me.
I will absolutely go back to the Wasatch Community Gardens sale next year, and will remember to bring something to carry plants in so I can get more. It was really fun to see all these people excited about gardening, the plants look healthy and interesting, and the organization is a good cause.