The crowd begins to arrive long before the gate opens. By 9 a.m. hundreds of people snake through Meridian Park, and a rumble of excitement runs through the line as it begins to move. No, this isn’t some celebrity appearance, but something much more enticing to many in Wallingford and beyond: the Edible Plant Sale.
This weekend is Seattle Tilth’s biggest event of the year, its annual Edible Plant Sale, where thousands of home gardeners will pick among 70,000 organically, sustainably, locally grown plant starts. The sale is particularly renowned for its selection of tomato plants — more than 50 varieties will be available this year. It’s a good idea to go through the list of available plants in advance to be sure not to miss anything among the throngs.
Seattle Tilth’s site offers a few pointers on the sale:
Bring Carriers. Wagons, boxes, plant flats and friends are helpful to help you carry your plants. We will also be renting plant flats.
Get a Bracelet. Timed entry will keep the entrance flowing smoothly. Beginning at 8 a.m., you can get an appointed time of entry when you pick up a color-coded wristband at the entrance of the sale in Meridian Park. This will help us avoid exceeding the capacity of the space and allow you to enjoy the activities outside of the sale without needing to wait in line.
Sleep In – Come After Noon. Saturday morning is for the hard core and is quite busy. Come after noon either day for leisurely shopping and avoid the crowds!
Travel Smart. Carpool, take a bus (#44 or #16), or use other alternative transportation. See directions. You can park in the neighborhood around Meridian Park, but it tends to be busy. North of 50th tends to be less crowded.
Leave the Pooches Home. Because of the high volume of people at the event, dogs are not allowed in the sale.
If you want to avoid the crowds but worry you’ll miss out on the choicest selection, here’s advice from Seattle Tilth’s Communications & Volunteer Manager, Liza Burke:
We will be restocking throughout the day and we also are receiving a final plant delivery on Saturday evening. We tend to run out of hops and some other specific plant varieties (not sure – and it varies each year!), but if people can be a little flexible, we will have an enormous selection (over 50 tomato varieties) and the sale is a great chance to try growing something new.
Volunteers get an invitation to the pre-sale on Friday evening – one of the favorite perks. We still do need some help. Otherwise, the public can purchase tickets to the“Early Bird” Sale for $25 or buy Prepaid Plant Packs.
The sale details:
Sat., May 1, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sun., May 2, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Behind the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.
(Photo courtesy of Seattle Tilth and Morgan Van Dyke)