UCSC Farm and Garden annual spring plant sale set for May 1-2

A wide selection of organically grown vegetable, herb and flower starts, along with beautiful perennials will be available at the Spring Plant Sale. (Photo courtesy of CASFS)

There's no better way to start the gardening season than with a visit to the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden's Spring Plant Sale, with its great selection of organically grown vegetable, herb and flower starts, along with beautiful perennials to enhance your yard and garden.

The Spring Plant Sale takes place Saturday, May 1, and Sunday, May 2, in the Barn Theater parking lot at the base of the UCSC campus, near the intersection of Bay and High streets in Santa Cruz. The sale will be open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Saturday, members of the Friends of the Farm and Garden enjoy priority early entry starting at 9 a.m. (memberships and renewals available starting at 8:30 a.m.).

This year's sale will feature a great selection of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, summer squash, pumpkins, onions, and other vegetables, many grown from seeds generously donated by Renee's Garden. Back this year are potato starts ready for planting, along with other high-nutrition crops as kale, chard, collards, and Asian greens.

Salad lovers will be especially pleased by the expanded selection of lettuce and lettuce mix varieties available this year, including a wide array of baby romaines and butterheads perfect for those with limited gardening space.

Rose enthusiasts will find a range of offerings, including the hybrid musks Will Scarlet and Penelope, a number of English shrub roses, the floribundas Bonica, French Lace, and Sun Flare, and the popular Constance Spry and Queen Elizabeth.

Also among the annual vegetables this year will be selections of both sweet and hot peppers, Italian and Asian eggplants, and heirloom tomatoes, such as Brandywine (both red and yellow) and Cherokee Purple, along with Chianti Rose, Rainbow's End, and Stupice. Cherry tomatoes will include favorites like Sungold, Camp Joy, and combo packs of red and yellow pears.

Along with a wide range of perennial lavenders, salvias, and California natives, there will be numerous annual flowers. Featured will be some stunning varieties of both smaller ornamental and huge seed-producing sunflowers, including Angel's Halo, Bright Bandolier, Heirloom Titan, Moonshadow, and Valentine. Also available: snapdragons, zinnias, bachelor buttons (cornflowers), hollyhocks, stock, foxgloves, and California poppies in a range of colors.

The Spring Plant Sale benefits the UCSC Farm and Garden Apprenticeship, a six-month training course in organic farming and gardening. Members of the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden receive a 10 percent discount on purchases; memberships will be available at the sale beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. For more information about the Spring Plant Sale or the Friends of the Farm & Garden, call (831) 459-3240, send email to casfs@ucsc.edu, or see http://casfs.ucsc.edu, where you can find a list of the plants available for sale this year.