UCSC Farm & Garden’s annual spring plant sale set for weekend of May 4, 5

seedlings in greenhouse
A wide variety of seedlings are cultivated in the greenhouse at the Farm in anticipation of the annual spring plant sale. (Photo by CASFS)

Satisfy your green thumb at the UCSC Farm & Garden’s spring plant sale, featuring the region’s largest collection of organically grown herb and flower starts, vegetables, and beautiful perennials.

The sale takes place Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, 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. (new memberships and renewals are 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.

Flower lovers can choose from an array of annuals perfect for bouquets and landscapes. This year’s offerings include amaranth, asters, bachelor’s buttons, cosmos, hollyhocks, marigolds, Mexican sunflowers, poppies, snapdragons, stock, and a large selection of sunflowers, 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’, ‘Constance Spry’, and ‘Will Scarlet’.

Tomato fans will find plenty to choose from, with 30 heirloom, slicer, cherry, and paste varieties available at this year’s sale, including ‘Summer Feast’, ‘Black from Tula’, ‘Rainbow’s End’, ‘Red Zebra’, ‘Juan Flamme’, ‘Sungold’, ‘Isis Candy’, ‘Summer Feast’, ‘Chocolate Cherry’, ‘Yellow Pear’, ‘San Marzano’, ‘Amish Paste’, ‘Valley Girl’, ‘Pruden's Purple’, ‘Oregon Spring’, ‘Big Beef’, ‘Brandywine’ (red and yellow), and ‘Cherokee Purple’.

Also among the vegetables this year will be some new and “tried and true” sweet peppers and plenty of hot peppers, along with a variety of lettuces, Italian and Asian eggplants, alpine strawberries, cucumbers, artichokes, leeks, and winter squashes.

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

Bargain hunters will find some great deals on perennials, with salvias, butterfly bushes (Buddleias), yarrows, and ornamental grasses priced at three for $20 in one-gallon containers. Other perennials available this year include lavenders, clematis, cape fuchsias, day lilies, rosemary and marjoram varieties, native laurel and Ribes, several varieties of grapes, and many other favorites.

Plant sale patrons will also enjoy discounts at Companion Bakeshop (2341 Mission Street), which will offer 10% 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. 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/plantsale, where you can find a list of all the plants available this year.