Master Gardener plant sale

Tomato and pepper plants are seen in a greenhouse last spring, just before the Master Gardener plant sale was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. This year's sale will be online April 17-24, with pickup on May 1-2.

The Master Gardener Foundation’s annual plant sale was one of many casualties we experienced during the pandemic last year. While still following COVID protocols in 2021, Master Gardeners are growing plants for an online sale this year. While we will miss escorting our customers through the forest of tomatoes, peppers and other garden vegetables that our members have grown, we are excited about this new opportunity.

This year you can shop for plants from the comfort of your home. Check out the stunning photographic display on our website, mgfchelancounty.org.

Tomatoes, the most popular garden vegetable in the United States, will take center stage. We have a range of types and sizes: big beefsteaks, medium-sized slicers, sweet little cherry tomatoes and meaty paste tomatoes for making sauce or salsa. Varieties include reliable favorites like Champion, Early Girl, and Sweet Million, as well as more hard-to-find varieties like Carmello (French slicing tomato), Caspian Pink (Russian beefsteak tomato) and Cuore di Bue (large Italian paste tomato).

When choosing a tomato, notice whether the variety is determinate or indeterminate. Determinate tomato plants generally grow less than four feet tall and ripen their fruit over a short period of time — good qualities if you are short on space and want to process tomatoes over a limited time. Indeterminate tomato plants continue growing and producing fruit all season, until they are killed by frost. They can easily reach 6 feet in height, requiring staking and pruning, but you can harvest tomatoes throughout the growing season.

We also offer two varieties of compact tomatoes: Bush Champion II and Bush Early Girl. These plants are bred for container gardening or other small spaces. They grow no more than 24-inches tall and produce delicious slicing tomatoes.

Are you looking for peppers? We have sweet peppers that ripen green, red or orange, as well as the popular Cubanelle pepper that ripens red with a touch of heat. We also have spicy peppers ranging in heat from mild Alma Paprikas to super spicy habaneros.

In addition to tomatoes and peppers we are growing several other vegetables and culinary herbs. You will find eggplants, Swiss chard, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatillos and kale as well as parsley, rosemary, and three types of basil – Italian, Thai and lemon.

If you are looking for ornamental plants, we will also provide a selection of beautiful perennials from Walla Walla Nursery.

Our online sale will be live from April 17-24 at mgfchelancounty.org, with curbside pickup on May 1 and 2 at the Forestry Sciences Lab on Western Avenue. Proceeds from the plant sale support the many community education programs offered by the Master Gardeners, including the Plant Diagnosis Clinic, the Community Education Garden in Wenatchee, the Boswell Garden at the Chelan County Expo Center in Cashmere and the Pollinator Garden at the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery.

Come visit our sale, and thank you for your support!

A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears weekly in The Wenatchee World. Connie Mehmel is one of four columnists featured. To learn more, visit wwrld.us/cdmg or call 667-6540.