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At Wasatch Community Gardens sale, plants and locals are the stars

Published May 8, 2013 7:48 am

Fundraiser • Wasatch Community Gardens event supports programs, workshops.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

When it comes to Saturday's giant sale of plants in Salt Lake City, the focus will be on community.

From the timing of the event to the suitability of the seedlings, everything is just about right for gardeners to begin planting their summer crops.

"The weather is not too hot, the chance of frost is low and it's cool enough that plants can establish roots before it gets really hot," said Bill Stadwiser with Wasatch Community Gardens.

From 8 a.m. to noon, the nonprofit gardening group is offering 30,000 or so plants for sale in the parking lot at Rowland Hall School, 720 S. Guardsman Way (1580 East). Organizers say prices are competitive with big-box stores, plants are suited to Utah's climate and that there are many varieties that are difficult to find anywhere else.

Plants include vegetable starts, herbs, annual flowers, grasses, water-wise plants, Utah natives and edible perennials.

Among the most sought-after plants are the 60 different varieties heirloom tomatoes, which can be asymmetrical, bulbous, rippled, even gnarled. They're red, but also pink, orange, yellow, purple, green, white or even black. Some are striped, some mottled, some are delicate, while others are surprisingly hardy. They're also incredibly tasty.

This year's plant sale also will feature edible perennials, which typically require less-intensive care than seasonal varieties. Some examples are mint, oregano, sage, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb, asparagus and rosemary.

The sale will also feature a farmers market and a booth where parents can sign up children for summer camps, which offer a week of garden-based education to youngsters 4 to 12 years old.

"This event is an important way for us to promote our mission and engage the community," said executive director Ashley Patterson. "It's a great place to buy healthy, locally grown plants, but it's also a place for people to gather and exchange notes, or to learn about what's possible in a garden along the Wasatch Front."

Money from the sale will be used to fund gardening and growing programs.

Volunteers are needed to help with the sale, and they'll be rewarded with an invitation to a presale on Friday, as will anyone who makes a donation of $250 or more, said Brit Merrill who directs the organization's volunteer program.

In addition, volunteers are needed to work along side the staff in Salt Lake City every Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., at the Fairpark Garden (1037 W. 300 North) and the Grateful Tomato Garden (800 S. 600 East).

For experienced and wannabe gardeners, a variety of classes are offered, such as building garden structures, beekeeping, growing dry beans (which help amend the soil) and composting. Costs range from $10 to $15, and scholarships are available.

And for those who have no gardens, the organization still has a few plots available for this growing season, at Cannon Greens Community Garden, 773 W. 1300 South, and at Rose Park Community Garden 871 N. Cornell St. (1525 West).

The group, whose base is 824 S. 400 West in Salt Lake City, also works with several community gardens, and can provide information on other available plots.

dawn@sltrib.com

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Annual plant sale

Wasatch Community Gardens is offering tens of thousands of items:

When • 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday

Where • Rowland Hall School, 720 S. Guardsman Way (1580 East) in Salt Lake City

Sneak peak • Presale is Friday, for a donation of $250 or those who volunteer

To volunteer • Contact Brit Merrill at community@wasatchgardens.org or call 801-359-2658, ext. 11

Varieties • Heirloom tomatoes, vegetable starts, herbs, flowers, grasses, water-wise plants, Utah natives, edible perennials.

For more information • visit http://wasatchgardens.org/ —­­

Workshops

Building garden structures • 10 a.m.-noon, May 18, Fairpark Garden, 1037 W. 300 North, Salt Lake City

Dry beans • 2-4 p.m., May 18, Fairpark Garden, 1037 W. 300 North, Salt Lake City

Beekeeping, pollinators • 10 a.m.-noon, June 1, Grateful Tomato Garden, 800 S. 600 East, Salt Lake City

Composting • 1-3 p.m., 1-3:30 p.m., June 1, TreeUtah EcoGarden, Day-Riverside Library, 1575 W. 1000 North, Salt Lake City

Cost • $10 for garden structures, beans, beekeeping; $15 for composting; scholarships available

Registration • Required, go to wasatchgardens.org