Once a year, Contra Costa Master Gardeners open their demonstration garden for a day celebrating tomatoes. Thousands of heirloom plants, representing more than 40 proven varieties from Ace to Zebra, will be on sale to get the spring planting season off to a healthy start. This year, tomatoes will be joined by a selection of artichoke, eggplants, sweet and chili peppers, and tomatillos, all selected for their success in Contra Costa home gardens – from Richmond to Brentwood.
Located at the new “Our Garden,” Master Gardener demonstration site, the Great Tomato Plant Sale is an educational family event. Experts will be on hand to provide advice about plant selection, site location and preparation, planting, fertilizing, pruning, and harvesting. Avid gardeners can get specific questions answered and learn about strategies to minimize plant disease and maximize production.
Improving upon last year’s experience, this sale will include three times as many plants. In 2012, all the plants were sold out in the first three hours. “We had a winning event last year, and we’re back with more tomatoes, the addition of other vegetables, and more volunteers to make it even better,” says Liz Rottger, event organizer and president of the Contra Costa Master Gardeners.
Among the heirloom varieties on sale this year are:
Aunt Ruby’s German Green: a green beefsteak with a delicious flavor
Caspian Pink: “Queen of the Pinks,” incredibly sweet and juicy fruit
Black Krim: rare Russian beefsteak with intense, slightly salty flavor
Currant Tomatoes: yielding hundreds of ruby-like tomatoes per plant
Hawaiian Pineapples: colossal 1-2 pound tomatoes with a fruity, slightly pineapple taste
San Marzanos: famous Italian heirloom grown for delicious tomato sauce.
Boxcar Willie: bright orange-red slicer with a rich, sweet flavor and enough acid to give it a little tanginess.
Momotaro: most popular tomato in Japan with sweet and tangy taste
SunSugar: orange cherry tomatoes, very flavorful and juicyAll proceeds from CCMG fundraisers are returned to the community through the staffing of the Help Desk, Speakers Bureau, Our Garden, School Gardens, Farmer’s Markets and other activities. Contra Costa Master Gardener Help Desk is available for phone calls Monday – Thursday, 9am to noon, (925) 646-6586.
Founded in 1983, the Contra Costa Master Gardener program (CCMG) is comprised of volunteers trained in the University of California’s cooperative extension program to provide research-based knowledge to: improve residential horticulture, assist in urban pest management, and share resource conservation methods in Contra Costa County. Website: http://ccmg.ucdavis.edu email: [email protected]
WHAT: Fundraiser benefitting the Contra Costa Master Gardener Program; Ten- thousand tomato starts
WHEN: Saturday, April 6, 2013, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
WHERE: “Our Garden” the Contra Costa Master Gardeners’ demonstration garden at N. Wiget Lane and Shadelands Drive, Walnut Creek