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Thousands of plants, dirt cheap, at Master Gardener Plant Faire!

Posted 5/4/2012

Person holding plants from last year’s Master Gardener Plant Faire.

By Robert Mills

Grow your own food, plant a pretty landscape and support a worthy cause on May 19 in Reno.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) will host its Annual Master Gardener Plant Faire from 7-11:30 a.m. May 19 at the Washoe County UNCE office on 4955 Energy Way in Reno.

Home gardeners should not miss this event. Thousands of Master-Gardener-grown fruits, vegetables, annuals, perennials, herbs and grasses will be available for lower-than-low prices.

The annual fundraising event, which boasted nearly 7,000 plants for sale last year, is part of an ongoing effort to raise funds for the Master Gardener program, said Master Gardener Coordinator Wendy Hanson Mazet.

"The funds generated at this sale support our volunteer program by allowing us to purchase new computers, microscopes and research material so our volunteers can better serve the public with their horticulture questions," Mazet said. "It also allows our program to assist school and community garden projects."

Last year Master Gardeners in the Washoe County area answered nearly 15,000 phone calls and emails and contributed more than 11,000 hours of volunteer work — a value of nearly $230,000. Master Gardeners from Carson City and Washoe, Douglas and Lyon counties go through 54 hours of training, and after passing a test go out into the public to conduct plant clinics, perform soil tests and consult with school and community gardens. They donate hundreds of pounds of produce each year to charity.

The Plant Faire is one occasion when their work is on full display. If you’re looking for fresh basil to spruce up your pastas and sauces, or one of 40 hearty heirloom tomato varieties to add a rich flavor to your summer salads, the Plant Faire is the place for you. Pick up plant starts in 4-inch and 1-gallon containers and grow your own food this season.

"Four-inch plants will run for $1.50," Mazet said. "The 1-gallon plants will cost $3, and all of the varieties have been raised with the caring, knowledgeable hands of Master Gardeners."

During the faire, Master Gardeners will be on-site to answer any horticulture questions.

Under the umbrella of UNCE, the Master Gardener program allows trained volunteers to disseminate safe, effective gardening information to their communities. Each Master Gardener volunteers at least 50 hours per year and is part of a Cooperative Extension volunteer network that supports several community programs, including UNCE’s 4-H youth development efforts.

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 emailing mastergardeners@unce.unr.edu.

The Annual Master Gardener Plant Faire is free and open to the public. Plants will be available for sale with all proceeds going to the support of the Master Gardener volunteer program. People with disabilities are encouraged to participate. If you or someone you know anticipates needing any type of accommodation, contact Ashley Andrews prior to the event at 775-784-4848 or by email at andrewsa@unce.unr.edu.

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