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Cooperative Extension to host huge plant sale

Posted 5/19/2011

Picture of plants being sold at the Master Gardener Plant Faire

Master Gardeners are offering up heirloom tomatoes and more than 7,000 plants

If you’re getting ready to plant your vegetables or spruce up your flower or herb garden, you won’t want to miss the Master Gardener Plant Faire Extravaganza from 7 to 11:30 a.m today at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Washoe County office at 4955 Energy Way in Reno.

There will be nearly 7,000 "Master Gardener-grown" plants for sale, including such hard-to-find items as heirloom tomato plants. Master Gardeners have been hard at work growing a large variety of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs and ornamental grasses for this annual fundraising event.

"This year we really emphasized what vegetable gardeners want the most — short season vegetables," said Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Coordinator Wendy Hanson Mazet. "We’re introducing many different heirloom varieties of tomatoes that people never heard of that work well in our climate."

Mazet said there will be more than 43 varieties of heirloom tomatoes — so many that she has published a special flyer listing all of them. The difference between an heirloom tomato and a hybrid tomato is that the seeds from the heirloom will produce a plant identical to the original; a hybrid seed will not necessary produce an identical plant.

"Heirlooms are seeds that have been passed down from generation to generation," Mazet said. "The majority of the tomato plants we’ll have at the plant sale will be heirlooms."

Picture of plants being sold at the Master Gardener Plant Faire

A list of all the plants will be available at the event and online to help shoppers make their selections. The 7,000 plants will include pumpkins, melons, cucumbers, 13 varieties of peppers (sweet, mild, medium and hot), squashes, greens, kale, chard and lettuce. There will also be many annual and perennial plants, as well as a large selection of herbs.

Mazet said the plants, priced from $1.50 for 4-inch plants to $3 for 1-gallon plants, have all been grown by Master Gardeners either in their greenhouses or in their homes.

This year’s plant sale will be at the Extension’s new Washoe County headquarters on Energy Way, about 1 mile south of its old building on Mill Street. Energy Way is off of So. Edison Way, which is east of the airport and accessible from Mill Street to the north and Rock Boulevard to the south.

The Plant Faire will be held in conjunction with an Open House at the Extension building. The Open House starts at 8 a.m. and will feature a "Grocery Store Gardening" display by Horticulture Specialist Heidi Kratsch and free pressure canner gauge testing by Nutrition Specialist Kerry Seymour. Visitors can also learn more about various Extension programs, such as Living with Fire; the Nevada Radon Education Program; and various Children, Youth and Family programs. United States Department of Agriculture canning guides will be on sale, and there will be a display on food preservation and dehydrators.

During the plant sale, Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer gardening questions. All plant sales will benefit the Master Gardener program and its community projects in northern Nevada.

Cooperative Extension is the statewide outreach arm of the university, delivering programs to communities throughout the state from its 20 offices, located in 16 of Nevada’s 17 counties. Extension educators are university faculty members who study the needs of Nevada’s communities and deliver science-based information and programs to address those problems. Extension programs focus on six areas — natural resources; children, youth and families; community development, agriculture; horticulture; and health and nutrition.

The Master Gardener program trains local gardeners and works with them to disseminate safe, effective gardening information to their communities. Each Master Gardener volunteers at least 50 hours a year, and is part of a Cooperative Extension volunteer network that supports many programs, including Extension’s 4-H youth development efforts. More than 1,200 volunteers work for Extension, and in 2010 they put in more than 80,000 hours of their time — a $1.7 million value for Nevada’s citizens.

For more information about the Master Gardener program, call University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in Reno at 775-784-4848; in Carson City at 775-887-2252; or in Gardnerville at 775-782-9960. You can also “Ask a Master Gardener” your gardening and yard-care questions by e-mailing mastergardeners@unce.unr.edu.

Map showing 4955 Energy Way, Reno, NV

4955 Energy Way, Reno, NV

SUMMARY

  • What: Master Gardener Plant Faire Extravaganza
  • When: 7 — 11:30 a.m., May 21
  • Where: University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Washoe County Office, 4955 Energy Way in Reno
  • Who: Presented by Master Gardeners of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
  • Tip: Arrive early —the plants go quickly!
  • Shopping list: http://www.unce.unr.edu/calendar/files/pdf/2011PlantFaire.pdf

Persons in need of special accommodations or assistance should call 775-784-4848 at least three days prior to the event.

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