UCSC plant sale kicks off fall gardening season September 14, 15

Flats of organic plant starts are ready at the UCSC Farm & Garden for the annual fall plant sale.

Fall is just around the corner, and for Central Coast gardeners that means it's time to get busy with another round of planting. Putting in veggies, annual flowers and perennials now will bring a bonus of fresh vegetables into fall and winter, and a bounty of blossoms next spring.

To keep your gardening season going strong, the UCSC Farm & Garden's Fall Plant Sale will offer a rich and timely selection of organically-raised vegetable seedlings, perennials, and California natives, along with some new features. Sponsored by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems, the sale takes place on Friday and Saturday, September 14 and 15. The sale will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, in the Barn Theater parking lot at the intersection of Bay and High Streets in Santa Cruz (base of the UC Santa Cruz campus).

This year's vegetable offerings include peas, spinach, kale, lettuce and salad mixes, Asian greens, chard, collards, fennel, and leeks, along with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Napa cabbage. There will also be a good selection of fall- and winter-flowering annuals, including sweet peas, bachelor's button, statice, calendula, scabiosa, and stock.

New this year will be a selection of herbs, lettuces, chives, Chinese spinach, and other crops planted in hanging baskets for indoor or outdoor use—a decorative and delicious way to garden.

The Farm & Garden's Fall Plant Sale is one of the largest all-organic events of its kind in the Monterey Bay Area. All of the flower and vegetable starts were propagated using organic methods. No chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides were used in growing the plants from seed and cuttings.

In addition to winter vegetables, annual flowers and culinary herbs, the sale will feature perennial flowers and shrubs, including buddleias, lavenders, ornamental thistles and a wide selection of salvias. Autumn is also a great time to plant California native species. Available this year will be coyote bush, fescues, and several Ribes varieties.

Receipts from the Fall Plant Sale presented at Companion Bakeshop the week following the sale will also earn shoppers a 10 percent discount on any purchase—another great reason to shop the plant sale.

The sale will benefit 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. For more information about the Fall 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. The sale takes place rain or shine.