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The Latest Dirt - March 2023

Spring is in the Air

Article and photos by Greg Letts


The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicted above average rain this winter and they nailed it. I don’t recall them mentioning anything about local snow, but there it was. But it is now time to move on.

Spring is on the way. My backyard has drained, the paperwhites and daffodils are in bloom, as is my early peach tree.

Spring also means GTPS! The Great Tomato Plant Sale, our largest activity and primary fundraiser for our program, is right around the corner. This is my fourth. Each year I am amazed that those trays of little squiggles, pictured here, turn into more than 25,000 plants that overflow the 17 hoop houses and numerous tables upon which they are staged. And then they are all gone! Most of them sold, of course, but many plants are donated to school and community gardens.

This is our first in-person sale in three years. No building an online ordering site. No printing 2000 pick tickets. No pulling 2000 orders. No trying to hold hundreds of orders in some sort of numerical order. No trying to track down a Sungold cherry because the customer was given a Sun Sugar… and it’s not where it’s supposed to be alphabetically because Sungold is one word, and Sun Sugar is two…and…

This year the customers simply choose their own plants. In a three-day sale at Our Garden and a one-day sale at the Richmond Civic Center Library.

Last year nearly half of our volunteers assisted with the sale, logging more than 4200 hours. There are many opportunities to assist again this year from potting up seedlings, to (ahem) watering, to assisting at the sale itself (set-up, greeting, cashiering, boxing up, clean-up).

Many of you are already volunteering, thank you. There will continue to be new postings on VMS and email updates from Mary Jo Corby throughout March for additional opportunities.

What a great way to kick off your Spring!