It’s the Season for Plant Sales and Herb Festivals

April 26, 2013

Mid-spring is a perfect time to explore the local plant sales, herb fairs, and even local nurseries to locate transplants for the backyard garden. It isn’t safe here in Central PA to set out frost sensitive plants just yet, but the frost-free date is quickly approaching.

Even for those of us who like to raise lots of their own transplants for the garden, it’s still fun to visit the local plant sales, and you never know just what you may find. Here in the Central Pennsylvania area I attended my first plant sale a couple weeks ago over at the Rodale Institute.

Rodale Institute Plant Sale and Open House

Rodale Institute Plant SaleThe Rodale plant sale was unique in that it focused on fruit trees, berries, and cold weather spring crops that could go into the garden right away with no worry over an unexpected late frost or cold snap. My leeks and onion seedlings are a bit behind, so I picked up a pack of Alisa Craig onion seedlings along with of two varieties of heirloom leek transplants.

In addition I purchased a couple six packs of fancy red mustards and lettuces to supplement what I already have growing in the garden. Rodale has leftovers from that sale available currently outside their store, and an even broader sale of organic plants is on tap for the weekend of May 10 – 11 when their Spring Open House takes place there in Kutztown, PA from 10 AM to 5 PM on both days.

Landis Valley Museum Herb & Garden Faire

Scheduled for the same weekend is one my favorite gardening events, and what is possibly the largest plant sale in the East; the Herb & Garden Faire at the Landis Valley Museum near Lancaster, PA. This is a huge sale with over eighty vendors and a variety of products in addition to plants.

If you’re looking for and unusual or rare plant the Herb and Garden Faire is a great place to start. Whether it’s a pond plant, medicinal herb, heirloom vegetable, antique fruit, or ornamental, one of the vendors at Landis Valleyis likely to have it on hand and be able to offer growing tips for its culture.

Baker Creek Spring Planting Festival

This isn’t an event that I will be attending this spring, but I would love to make it out to the Baker Creek Spring Planting Festival one year! It sounds like an even larger plant sale than the one at Landis Valley and when the Baker Creek Seed Company is involved I would expect to see an extensive selection of unusual and rare heirloom plant varieties.

The festival takes place on May 5 – 6 in Branson, Missouri and by the looks of it this is more of a festival or celebration that includes extensive musical performances, food, and a great line up of plant experts providing lectures. If anyone has attended previously, or is planning to attend, we’d love to receive some feedback on your experiences at the event.

Local Native Plant Sales are also on the Schedule

There are also numerous native plant sales scheduled locally, the first is the Appalachian Audubon’s Spring Native Plant Sale at Clod Crop Plant SaleMeadowood Nursery in Hummelstown, PA that takes place tomorrow. Even if your focus is on growing edible plants, expanding into native plants will prove to benefit the veggie garden by drawing more native beneficial insects to your landscape.

Another local native plant sale will be organized by MAEscapes and takes place on May 18th at the York County Annex in York, PA. There will be a nice selection of native plants, trees, shrubs, gardening supplies, and speakers on hand. One highlight will be the presentation of the pollinator trial garden winners; a great way to discover the best plants for attracting pollinators.

So check with your local gardening organizations or search the web for terms like “organic plant sale,” “local native plants,” “heirloom plant sale” or “herb fairs” to locate some great events scheduled in your own local area.

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  • Jealous. We did a lousy job of starting plants this year, so we could really benefit from good sales like this. It’s hard to find a good selection here.

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