Planting Power

A gardening guide for the season

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Last year, the amount of tomatoes I harvested from my backyard garden was unprecedented. While part of the credit for the bounty went to the weather—it was dry enough that no plants got blight, and the warmth of the Indian summer didn’t hurt—I believe the main reason the harvest was so successful is because, per usual, I purchased the bulk of my tomato starts at the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale at Ferndale’s Hovander Homestead Park.

Like most of the plant sales that will happen in Whatcom County in the coming month, the gardening goods that are up for purchase, whether they’re edible or ornamental, will be sourced from the gardeners who are selling them. This means you’ll be purchasing products that have been proven to grow well in this particular climate, and it’s more than likely any questions you have about them will be able to be answered by those selfsame green thumbs.

While the sales I’m going to mention here are but a sampling of what’s available, it’s a good start for those looking for high-quality, inexpensive annuals and perennials to grow this spring and summer.

Starting things off is the D.U.P.I. (Diggers Uppers and Putter Inners) Spring Plant and Bake Sale, which takes place from 9am-2pm Sat., April 27 in the parking lot of the United Church of Ferndale. You’ll want to make it out there early, as the ladies of this longstanding club offer both common and rare plants for prices that are so low they’ll have you doing a double-take. Most of what you’ll find was dug up from their gardens in the days before the sale, so you can rest assured that in addition to buying local, you’ll also be buying fresh.

That same day, April 27, the Everson Garden Club will host its annual Plant Sale from 9am-1pm at Everson Elementary School, 216 Goshen Rd. In addition to the perennials, natives and bushes available, there’ll be veggie starts, specialty plants and garden furniture. (There’ll also be an annual Plant Sale from 9am-4pm May 4-5 in Everson at 3812 Cabrant Rd. Further details are elusive.) 

Next up is the Birchwood Garden Club’s 21st annual Plant Sale, which happens from 9am-12pm Sat., May 4 at the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave. Perennials, annuals, vegetable starts, vines, shrubs, trees, herbs and ornamental grasses can be sourced here, and funds raised go to beautify many local public gardens, so it’s a win-win situation.

Remember that Master Gardeners Sale mentioned earlier? Well, mark your calendars for 9am-2pm Sat., May 11 at Hovander Homestead Park. Return customers know to clear spaces in their cars and get there early to ensure they can nab a conveyance to haul their gardening goods in, but even if you show up later, rest assured there’ll still be plenty to discover—whether it’s tomato starts, dahlia bulbs, trees, shrubs, shade-loving plants or a wheelbarrow full of hostas.

Before May ends, you’ll have a couple more opportunities to stock up. Once every year, Cascade Cuts opens its doors to the public to raise funds for Sustainable Connections, and it’s a hotbed of action. Show up from 9am-4pm Sat., May 18 at 632 Montgomery Rd., and see for yourself. There’ll also be a Backyard Habitat & Native Flora Fair from 10am-4pm that day at the Fairhaven Village Green, and if you play your cards right, you can hit up both events on the same day.

Keep your eyes and ears open for other sales happening in the area, and stop by the side of the road if you see an impromptu one pop up. Then, get planting.

SVCR Don McLean
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