Hate to rain on anyone's parade, but there's no use planting your tomatoes and eggplants outside this weekend - warm, sunny days notwithstanding, the nights have been chilly and the soil hasn't warmed up enough to support these heat-loving plants. (Read this 2011 Plantwise post about how to know when it is the right time to plant tomatoes and summer veggies - and what you can do to speed things up.)

That said, it's a fabulous time to buy warm-weather starts and coddle them in a sunny window or under grow lights until planting time. Buy locally-grown, organic heirloom and hybrid vegetable starts at the Incredible Edibles plant sale 2013 - a plant sale that supports the important and under-funded Multnomah County Master Gardener program. OSU Extension-trained master gardener volunteers are on site all day to answer questions and edible gardening workshops are scheduled throughout the day (find schedule here, on the website). There are also raffle tickets on sale for prizes like a GreenBed raised garden bed system, a 2-night stay at Portland Urban Cottage, and gift certificates to local restaurants, garden gear, plants and more (raffle prizes details on the website).

WHAT: Incredible Edibles Plant Sale 2013
WHEN: Saturday May 2, 2013 from 10 am to 3 pm
WHERE: Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 5329 SE Woodstock Blvd. Portland
COST: Free admission
Questions? Call 503-445-4608

pendant bouquet thicket nursery
Image: Thicket

It may be too early for tomatoes but it's never too early for inspiration. There'll be inspiration aplenty on Sunday at Thicket, where author Lorene Edwards Forkner offers a show-and-tell of projects from her book, Handmade Garden Projects, with demos and time for Q&A afterwards. Some of the items you'll learn to make include wire plant supports, a galvanized gutter planted with succulents, flame-free canning jar lanters, homemade fireflies, and hairpin fencing chandeliers.

Lorene is editor of Pacific Horticulture magazine, a quarterly journal of West Coast gardening, design and environmentalism for passionate gardeners and curious naturalists. She is also the author of five garden titles including the bestselling Handmade Garden Projects (Timber Press, 2011), and the newly released Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening: Pacific Northwest. 

WHAT: Handmade Garden Projects with author Lorene Edwards-Forkner
WHEN: Sunday May 5, 2013, 1 to 3 pm
WHERE: Thicket, 4933 NE 23rd Ave, Portland (just south of NE Alberta St.) / 503-318-0049
COST: Free

While you're there, check out the shop's selection of top-notch plants for dry shade. Owner Adria Sparhawk has made a study of plants that grow well in urban neighborhoods, finding that most city-dwellers face the challenge of at least one stubborn dry shade area, courtesy of large conifers, extra large eaves or old deciduous shade trees in the parking strip. Ask her what she recommends!

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