2018 Great Tomato Plant Sale
About the Great Tomato Plant Sale
It's all over now, but thousands of heirloom tomato and other vegetable plants were on sale at the 7th Annual Great Tomato Plant Sale, Heirlooms of the World. We hope you didn't miss it! Here's what we had in store for participants...
What makes the Great Tomato Plant Sale so special?
We base our selections & recommendations on the local experience of UC Master Gardeners who field-test & grow these tomato varieties in their own Contra Costa gardens and at Our Garden, our Walnut Creek demo garden. Many varieties aren't available in local nurseries, but found only at our sales.
UC Master Gardeners were available at the sale to advise on plant selection, site location and preparation, planting, fertilizing, pruning, and harvesting. Strategies to minimize plant disease and maximize production were also discussed.
In 2018, we offered dozens of varieties of heirloom tomato plants from many worldwide locations, along with lots of tough, high-performing hybrid tomato varieties by popular demand. In addition, we had numerous types of peppers, many unusual and hard-to find—from sweet and juicy to hot and spicy, as well as a wide variety of eggplants, tomatillos, herbs and other summer veggies.
All plants were $3 each (CASH OR CHECK ONLY, please!). All income helps support the community education work of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County.
What varieties did you offer?
How do I decide?
Need help choosing from among the 85 tomato varieties we offer this year? Our UC Master Gardeners have you covered with their own recommendations of what they consider must-have tomato varieties. We call these vetted selections our Hot Master Gardener Picks. Check them out!
It’s true that growing heirlooms can sometimes be tricky, and growing conditions can vary dramatically across the county. That’s why we suggest you try several different varieties & types of tomatoes to see what works well in your garden. If you struggle with diseases, check out our great selection of hybrids too.
Three Sales in Three Locations in 2018
The Central County Sale was held at Our Garden in Walnut Creek (corner of North Wiget Lane and Shadelands Drive) on Saturday April 7, 10 am to 3 pm. We also had a special presentation at 11 and 1 on Summer Veggies...Tips & Tricks.
The East County Sale was held at Mangini Garden located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds in Antioch on Saturday, April 14, 10 am to 3 pm. We also celetrated Mangini Garden's Grand Opening and gave a free marigold with each purchase.
The West County Sale was held at the Richmond Public Library located within the City of Richmond Civic Center on Saturday, April 28, 10 am to 3 pm.
We reminded folks "Whichever sale you attend, come early for best selection, and remember to BYOB...bring your own box."
Plants were $3.00 each, CASH OR CHECK ONLY, please.
⇐Check out our 2018 variety lists at the left, and visit our Hot Master Gardener Picks page.
Helpful Tomato Tips & Techniques
Love tomatoes? Want to grow your own? Wondering how? Here are some great tips from the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County.
If you were at the Walnut Creek sale, we hope you caught our talk on Summer Veggies...Tips and Tricks (at 11 a.m or 1 p.m) and learned about the summer vegetables & herbs we had for sale.
Our presenter was UC Master Gardener extraordinare Janet Miller, manager of Our Garden since its inception in 2009. With Janet's leadership, the program at Our Garden yields over 12,000 pounds of produce annually that we donate to the Monument Crisis Center in Concord.
Janet explained all the good things you need to know about summer vegetables - what type of vegetables will tolerate a cooler climate and which ones need full sun and heat, what’s a mass producer, what can grow in small spaces, etc., etc. She has her own very large garden and let attendees know what some of her favorite varieties are.
First discovered in the Andes more than two thousand years ago, the tomato was cultivated extensively by the Aztecs and then taken by Spanish explorers to Europe in the sixteenth century. Initially, it was thought to be poisonous because it was a member of the nightshade family. Italians were the first to discover its culinary prowess and introduce it into their cuisine. Once tomatoes caught on, they spread across Europe and adapted again and again to the climate and soil of each specific region.
Tomatoes come in a dazzling spectrum of colors, belying that aphorism that 'red' is synonymous with 'tomato'. Colors range from black, purple, pink, green, orange and even white to every shade of red imaginable. There are also spectacularly beautiful striped tomatoes like Big Rainbow and Chocolate Stripe. Each color has its own unique taste. Some are sweet and fruity; others have rich, complex flavors, acidic and tangy. Tomatoes are the undisputed queen of the garden, and nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato!