Sweet limes, apple trees, and salad bowls debut at UCSC Plant Sale May 1-2

Psst! Here's a hot tip for gardeners: Whether your summer tastes lean toward limeade or margaritas, you'll want to pick up a Bearss lime tree at the annual UC Santa Cruz Farm & Garden Spring Plant Sale.

The sale, which features a dazzling array of organically raised vegetables, annual flowers, perennials, and herbs, will take place Saturday and Sunday, May 1-2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Barn Theater parking lot at the intersection of Bay and High Streets at the base of campus.

The Bearss lime tree, also known as the Tahitian lime, bears a yellow fruit with a unique flavor somewhere between a lemon and a lime. The handsome shrub with dark green foliage thrives on the Central Coast. Available in one-gallon containers, the trees are priced to please at $6 each.

Also new this year is a limited selection of dwarf apple trees, including the best of the Farm & Garden's heirloom and modern varieties. Grafted on root stock, these one-year-old trees won't bear fruit for two or three years, but the $6 price can't be beat. Varieties include Chehalis, Elstar, Fall Russet, Freyburg, Fuji, Golden Russet, Grime's Golden, Hudson's Golden Gem, Jonagold, Mollie's Delicious, Mutsu, and Yellow Newtown Pippin.

Finally, just in time for Mother's Day, the sale will feature 10-inch "salad bowls" preplanted with four to six varieties of half-grown salad greens, including a mix of mini romaines, heirloom butterhead lettuces, and cutting salad greens. Each bowl should yield two or three harvests for the ultimate in fresh salads.

As always, the selection will include more than 200 plant species, including heirloom varieties of tomatoes, as well as hot, mild, and sweet peppers. Six-packs of lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, salad mix, and Asian greens will also be available. All plants are proven to grow well in the local area.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Farm & Garden and the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems, the sale benefits the UCSC Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture. Members of the Friends will receive early entry from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday only and a 10 percent discount on purchases; memberships will be available at the sale beginning at 8:30 a.m. For more information, call (831) 459-3240.