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Agriculture and Food

It's Vine Time! Buy Student-Grown Plants at Tomato Spectacular

A cluster of multicolored cherry tomatoes hangs from a vine at the Cal Poly greenhouse
Written By AnnMarie Cornejo

More than 75 different types of tomato plants will be available at Cal Poly’s annual Tomato Spectacular plant sale from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 1-2 and April 15-16, at the Horticulture Unit near the Poly Plant Shop.

Brandywine, Early Girl, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Vintage Wine, and a selection of cherry tomato plants, including Nature’s Bites, are some of the unique cultivars that will be available during the student-run enterprise project, one of several such hands-on courses offered by the university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

In a large greenhouse, a student leans over a cart loaded with potted tomato vines
Ryan Schrader, a fourth-year agricultural and environmental plant sciences major, tends tomato plants in the campus greenhouse.

This year, the program is directed by a team of five students who have grown more than 3,000 tomato plants from seed to provide home gardeners with quality plants that will produce fresh tomatoes throughout summer. Students began seeding the plants in early February and have tended to them in the campus greenhouses.

“Being a part of the Tomato Spectacular student-run enterprise has enabled me to gain first-hand experience with growing a crop commercially for sale in a production setting,” said Ryan Schrader, a fourth-year agricultural and environmental plant sciences major. “Everything from cleaning pots to how to set up the sale has been done by our fantastic team of five hardworking students. I’m so excited to share with everyone the tomato fruits of our labor these past few months.”

The plants cost $8 and are available on a first-come, first-served basis — with no holds or reservations made in advance. Customers are encouraged to bring boxes and/or wagons to transport plants to their vehicles.

The sale will take place at the Environmental Horticultural Sciences Building (No. 48) on Via Carta Road off Highland Drive. Parking will be provided for free in lot H14. For more information, follow Cal Poly Tomato Spectacular on Facebook and @calpolytomatospectacular on Instagram.

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