UCSC Farm & Garden’s annual spring plant sale slated for May 5-6

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The UCSC Farm & Garden’s Spring Plant Sale features organically grown herb and flower starts, vegetables, and perennials.

It’s time to stock up your garden and brighten your landscape with plants from the UCSC Farm & Garden’s Spring Plant Sale, featuring organically grown herb and flower starts, vegetables, and beautiful perennials.

The Spring Plant Sale takes place Saturday, May 5, and Sunday, May 6, 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 & Garden enjoy priority early entry starting at 9 a.m. (memberships and renewals available starting at 8:30 a.m.).

This spring’s sale will feature a great selection of tomatoes and peppers (sweet and hot), along with eggplants, summer and winter squashes, pumpkins, lettuces, and other vegetables. Back this year are potato starts ready for planting, along with other high-nutrition crops such as kale, chard, and collards.

Flower lovers can choose from an array of annuals perfect for bouquets and borders. This year’s offerings include asters, bachelor’s buttons, cosmos, foxgloves, marigolds, Mexican sunflowers, poppies, snapdragons, statice, and stock, many grown from seeds generously donated by Renee’s Garden Seeds. Rose enthusiasts will find a selection of both old-fashioned and modern bush and climbing roses, including the popular ‘Banksia’, ‘Cecile Brunner’, ‘Charles Austin’, and ‘Constance Spry’.

Tomato fans will be especially pleased by the more than 30 heirlooms, slicers, cherry and paste varieties available at this year’s sale, including ‘Striped German’, ‘Black from Tula’, ‘Mortgage Lifter’, ‘Red Zebra’, ‘Crimson Carmello’, ‘Sungold’, ‘Isis Candy’, ‘Summer Feast’, ‘Chocolate Cherry’, ‘Yellow Pear’, ‘San Marzano’, ‘Amish Paste’, ‘New Girl’, ‘Pruden's Purple’, ‘Oregon Spring’, ‘Big Beef’, ‘Brandywine’ (red and yellow), and ‘Cherokee Purple’.

Also among the vegetables this year will be an expanded selection of sweet peppers and plenty of hot peppers, along with a variety of lettuces, Italian and Asian eggplants, strawberries, cucumbers, artichokes, leeks, winter squashes, and gourds.

Basil lovers can enjoy a selection of more than a dozen varieties great for sauces, seasoning and pesto, including  ‘Aroma’, ‘Dark Opal’, ‘Nufar’, ‘Cinnamon’, ‘Profumo di Genoa’, ‘Genovese’, ‘Italian Pesto’, ‘Sweet Green’, and ‘Sweet Thai’.

Bargain hunters will find some great deals on perennials, with salvias, butterfly bushes (Buddleias), yarrows, and grasses priced at three for $20 in one-gallon containers. The perennials available this year include lavenders, coral bells, trumpet lilies, coneflowers, rosemary and marjoram varieties, native dogwood and Ribes, five varieties of grapes, and many other favorites.

Plant sale patrons will also enjoy discounts at Companion Bakeshop (2341 Mission Street), which will offer 10 percent off purchases on presentation of a plant sale receipt at the Bakeshop during the week after the sale.

The Spring Plant Sale benefits the UCSC Farm & 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. Your plant purchases will help grow the next generation of organic farmers and gardeners.

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/plant-sale, where you can find a list of the plants available this year.