By Anne Hays 

Master gardeners plant sale a great success


Skagit County WSU Extension Master Gardeners hosted their annual Welcome Summer Plant Fair May 13. This was the 29th year the Master Gardeners have held the Plant Fair and again, it was a rousing success.

Every year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, the Skagit Fairgrounds in Mount Vernon transforms into a gardener and would be gardeners’ delight. More than 130 certified Master Gardeners and volunteers – plus about 20 family and friends – grew all the plants that were available for purchase, including over 3,000 tomato plants. Our greeters counted more than 2,500 customers over the course of the day.

This year’s greenhouse house team prioritized vetting the vegetable starts that they choose to germinate and offer for sale to reflect current best practices and provide home gardeners with plants that will prosper and mature in our local environment and where appropriate, are disease resistant. The plant house team grows all the perennials, including some edibles like berries, rhubarb and figs, all from cuttings and not from seed,

The tomato team germinated and produced about 3,500 greenhouse-grown grown tomatoes. All were sold early in the day. Varieties included slicers, salad, paste and cherry tomatoes.

All the traditional favorites were at the sale: an amazing selection of top-quality plants, book and tool sales, a plant clinic to help diagnose problems, a record number of vendors, 4-H animals, tool sharpening and 10-minute Master Gardener talks, including our first Spanish language presentation about bees. Our food vendors provided wonderful treats and this year we offered a vegetarian option.

The income from the Plant Fair supports a very large portion of the Skagit Master Gardeners’ Mission – maintaining and growing the Discovery Garden on Memorial Highway, hosting our annual open house on June 24, diagnostic and outreach plant clinics at farmers markets, supporting the Know and Grow workshops and working with elementary school programs through our DIG-IT program.

The Plant Fair also supports the community through donations to local non-profits. Unsold edible plants were donated to various low-cost housing units with community gardens and other non-profits.

Mark your calendars for next year’s sale the Saturday before Mother’s Day.

Here is a link to the list of tomatoes:


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