FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 24, 2009

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Tina Casey, 908-527-4346

 

UNION COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS TO HOLD ANNUAL PLANT SALE
Return of the Ramapo Tomato

The Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County annual Spring Garden Fair and Plant Saleis scheduled for Sunday, May 17, from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Union County Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, in Mountainside
The Union County Master Gardeners Annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale is on tap for Sunday, May 17, from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Union County Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, in Mountainside. All proceeds go to benefit community garden projects.  Pictured here, Master Gardener Gertie Harris tends to some of the offerings at last year’s sale.

Elizabeth, NJ – The Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County annual Spring Garden Fair and Plant Saleis scheduled for Sunday, May 17, from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Union County Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, in Mountainside.

The popular rain-or-shine event will kick off with a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony at noon.  Along with the plant sale, the afternoon includes exhibits, demonstrations, gardening advice, garden tours, and fun activities for children.

A café and refreshments are available.  Visitors are encouraged to bring a small wagon or cart to carry their purchases.

“Whether you’re a seasoned expert or starting your first home-grown vegetable garden, the Master Gardeners have something to delight and inspire everyone,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.

The plant sale features hundreds of annuals and perennials, bulbs, hanging baskets, houseplants, wildflowers, shrubs, landscape plants, roses, and ornamental grasses, along with vegetable and herb seedlings ready to be planted.

One highlight is the Ramapo Tomato, a delicious heirloom variety known as “the reason they talk about Jersey tomatoes.”  The Ramapo all but disappeared from local gardens until last year, when Rutgers horticulturalists reintroduced it.

Among the 15 other tomato varieties on sale are Early Girl, Italian Heirloom, Oxheart, and Marglobe.  Many are suitable for container and window box gardening.

Other ready-to-plant vegetable seedlings include beans, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers (bell and hot), and eggplant.  Basil, catnip, savory, and tarragon are among the more than 20 types of herbs on sale.  There are even melons, strawberries, and fig trees.

Proceeds from the sale help fund community activities sponsored by the Master Gardeners, including horticultural therapy, fresh flowers for local cancer patients and their families, fresh vegetables for food pantries, community beautification projects, support for 4-H horticultural programs, and scholarships for horticulture students at the Union County Vocational Technical School and Union County College.

The Master Gardeners also run a free garden and insect helpline at 908-654-9852, or by email at mastergardeners@ucnj.org.

The Master Gardeners are expert volunteers who are trained and certified by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County, supported in part by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

For links to more information about the Master Gardeners, the Master Tree Stewards and other environmental  programs in Union County, visit www.ucnj.org/greenconnect.