The society of East County gardeners known as DIG hosts a yearly plant sale where you’ll find everything from rose bushes to tomato plants. “You name it, we’ve got it,” said DIG Publicity Manager Jon Bergstrom. “We’ve got annuals such as marigolds, and we’ve got perennials, like petunias. We’ve got lots of flowers, but we’ve got some small trees and shrubs too. We’ve got some rose bushes. There’s really something for everyone. No matter how green your thumb is, we’ve got something to get you started.”
In keeping with the organization’s tradition for the past 22 years, DIG’s 2010 plant sale takes place the day before Mother’s Day – this year, Saturday, May 8. Bergstrom said if you’re stumped on what to get mom on her big day, a plant is always a nice gift. Instead of a bouquet of flowers that will die within a week, a flowering plant is something that mom can plant in her yard and enjoy all season – if not all year round.
DIG’s annual plant sale features 5,000 plants on average, and while that seems like a lot, some people camp out at the greenhouse hours before the gates open to make sure they get the best selection.
“The plant sale is a popular event that brings out hundreds of people every year,” Bergstrom said. “Sometimes we’ve got people lined up as early as 5:30 in the morning waiting to get in – and we don’t even open the gates until 8:30. People come with wagons, ready to cart off a new selection of plants. It’s become a tradition for some people. People look forward to it every year.”
All plants sold at the event are grown by DIG members, some of whom start propagating plants as early as September. The plants are stored at the greenhouse at Shelly’s Garden, located on Chestnut Street in Brentwood between Sellers Avenue and the Byron Highway, where DIG members tend to them until the big day.
For those new to gardening, Bergstrom recommends an annual plant such as marigolds. These flowers last for one season up to a year, offering the grower “instant satisfaction.” Once you get the hang of growing, you can move on to perennials, which last for several years if cared for properly.
However, whether you’re a novice or a gardening wiz, Bergstrom warns growers that they’ll need to spend a few hours prior to planting, tending to East County’s “good-as-pavement” soil. The ground lacks proper nutrients, so Bergstrom suggests buying some potting soil to help nurture your new greenery. Soil will also be sold at the plant sale.
Bergstrom also encourages new growers to have patience with their new plants. Once you remove the plant from the pot and put it in the ground, the plant may go into “transplant shock” and wilt slightly as it acclimates to its new home. Bergstrom said to keep watering the plant and it should come back to life within a week. But if you’re concerned about the plant’s status, you can always ask the experts. DIG Master Gardeners staff a booth at the Brentwood Farmers’ Market every Saturday, waiting on standby to answer all your gardening questions.
DIG members also host meetings on the fourth Monday of the month at Brentwood Methodist Church, 850 Second St., where they swap gardening tips and hear lectures from guest speakers. For more information about DIG, visit www.deltainformalgardeners.org.
The DIG Plant Sale runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Shelly’s Garden in Brentwood on May 8. Prices range from $1.50 for 1-gallon annuals and $2.50 for 1-gallon perennials to $5.50 for 5-gallon plants. Specialty garden items and succulents are individually priced.