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SPOONER

Think summer, think vegetable gardening, and what almost invariably comes to mind is tomatoes.

Sun-ripened, fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes so full of flavor they almost make a person swoon.

That is what the UW-Extension North County Master Gardener Volunteers Association (NCMGVA) plan to put into the hands of gardeners on Saturday, May 21, at its 15th annual plant sale. Specially chosen heirloom tomatoes and a variety of peppers will be featured at the sale. Miscellaneous perennial flowers and grasses will also be offered.

Heirloom tomatoes were the cornerstone of the group's very first plant sale. Since then, NCMGVA has increased the number of heirloom choices and added a few of their favorite hybrid varieties. The tomato and pepper plants are started from seed and grown by volunteers specifically for the sale.

Though hundreds of the plants will be at the sale, they tend to sell out quickly, and gardeners are advised to go early for the best selection. The sale begins at 8 a.m. at the Spooner Ag Research Station on Hwy. 70 east of Spooner. The sale will run until plants are sold out.

The proceeds go toward supporting the Teaching and Display Garden that is open to the public on Orchard Lane, just east of the Ag Research Station; for garden-related grants; for promoting horticulture outreach and education in Sawyer, Washburn, and Burnett counties; and other horticultural projects.

Kevin Schoessow, Area UW-Extension Agriculture Development Educator and advisor to NCMGVA, said Master Gardener volunteers come together from many backgrounds.

'They find common ground in their appreciation for growing plants, whether edible or ornamental. They are trained volunteers who assist the University of Wisconsin-Extension staff by helping people in the community better understand horticulture and the environment, and they donate thousands of hours' worth of their time each year toward that end,' Schoessow said.

Further information about the sale can be found at www.northcountrymgv.org/

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