Fifty Varieties of Tomato Plants For Sale at MVUC
Residents don't have to go far to find a charming 1930s greenhouse stocked with about 50 varieties of tomatoes, many of them heirloom, as well as herbs and flowering plants fit for Mother's Day gifts.
The greenhouse at the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church is bursting with plants ready for sale at reasonable prices. The spring warm up followed by cool weather gave the greenhouse plants a good start, but has delayed many gardeners. Now that it is May, the plants are expected to move quickly.
Greenhouse master Mary Barnett, who has been in charge for the past eight years with a team of 15 volunteers, said she has slowly built up the variety of vegetables and flowers in response to demand from loyal gardeners, some who come from as far as the District. This year the number of tomato varieties jumped to 50 from about 30 last year. Some of her recommendations for tasty tomatoes are Green Zebra, Sun Gold, Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Kellog's Breakfast, and Chocolate Cherry.
Seedlings from the first planting are a hearty 18-20 inches tall and the second planting has just started. Also just started are a variety of other vegetables including beets, carrots, cucombers, eggplant, peppers and squash. Herbs include sage, parsley, rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme and others.
Mary grows local native flowers that are often not available in commercial greenhouses. They include forget-me-nots, flowering salvia, flowering tobacco, foxglove, and bachelor buttons. She supplements the homegrown plants with purchases from Ashcombe Farms in Pennsylvania and Sandy's Plants near Richmond.
The greenhouse is open for sales 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through May. Tomato seedlings are $2 each; herbs are $1-3; and flowers range from $4-15. Proceeds are used to heat and repair the greenhouse and purchase new seeds; leftover funds go to the church. For more info, email Mary at email@example.com
If you don't have a garden of your own, MVUC leases a small number of garden plots. Email Leah Chowdhury at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire. MVUC also maintains a vegetable garden to produce food for the United Community Ministries food bank. To volunteer, contact Isabel Arnold at email@example.com.