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Friday, April 22, 2022

For the best plants...

URI Master Gardener Program plant sale returns May 14

The University of Rhode Island Master Gardener Program will hold its annual spring plant sale Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to noon in the URI Botanical Gardens on the Kingston Campus. This will be the first in-person public event the URI Cooperative Extension has hosted since 2019. The event will be held rain or shine.

The plant sale will feature herbs, annuals, perennials and vegetable seedlings, including Juliet tomatoes, which were voted the 2022 Master Gardener Program plant of the year for its disease resistance and prolific production. Over 6,000 plants will be available for sale, all raised primarily from seed in the greenhouses at URI’s East Farm in Kingston by volunteers.

Plants range in price from $4 to $12 each, and the revenue generated enables the program to host its free soil pH testing service, a gardening and environmental hotline, Ask a Master Gardener kiosks at events, and free gardening workshops.

“We’re just so excited to welcome people back to the URI Botanical Gardens in person and answer their questions, test their soil, and give them free Burpee seed packets,” said Kate Venturini Hardesty, administrator of the program for the Cooperative Extension. “We love to see everyone line up for soil tests and to buy plants – the excitement for spring is palpable. We hope everyone brings a wagon, a soil sample, a bag for free seeds and their gardening questions. We’ll be ready!”

Venturini Hardesty said the Master Gardeners will wear special buttons so they can be easily identified and available to answer people’s questions.

They will also have thousands of free seed packets donated from Ocean State Job Lot. “Our volunteers work tirelessly to organize the seeds we receive and distribute them to community organizations and individuals,” said Sejal Lanterman, community engagement coordinator for the Cooperative Extension. “This is one of the events where people can come and fill up a bag.”

The event promises to be festive, if a bit hectic, Venturini Hardesty said. She offers prospective customers two tips: “Visitors should bring a wagon to carry their plants in if they plan to buy more than they can carry. That’s really important!”

She also warns that latecomers may not get the plants they want – “Our plants are beautiful, and they sell fast.”

More information is available at the event webpage.