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Tomatomania! Returns to Descanso Gardens

Tomato enthusiasts gather at Descanso Gardens for plant sales and gardening talk.

This past weekend, Descanso Gardens celebrated the beginning of tomato season with Tomatomania!.

Tomato lovers from all over southern California flocked to the gardens to attend the event. The two-day program featured a plant sale and an information session on how to grow tomatoes.

Tomatomania!, known as the world’s largest tomato seedling sale, started more than 20 years ago in local nursery Hortus.The nursery based in Pasadena featured classes, sales, and tomato tastings.

Since then, the program has been held throughout California as well as in Lothian, Maryland and Alexandria, Virginia.  Tomatomania! returned to Descanso Gardens following a successful turnout last year.

Near the entrance of the gardens, Tomatomania! set up a booth and clusters of tables to display the various types of tomatoes. Glenn Sartain, who heard about the event through a friend, found six to eight different types of tomatoes he was interested in planting. A gardener with over 30 years of experience, he enjoys growing Celebrity tomatoes so much so that he’ll often pluck the sweet fruit from his backyard for an afternoon treat.

“I was tired of eating tomatoes that were store bought,” remarked Sartain on his tomato growing hobby. “It was like night and day to me; if the tomatoes aren’t ones I grow or tomatoes home grown by someone else, then I don’t eat them.”

Apart from the plant sales, Scott Daigre, a leader of Tomatomania!, introduced tips and solutions for those interested in growing tomatoes. He described different planting strategies, ways to utilize water and fertilizer, as well as how to save seeds. Daigre also remarked on the varieties of tomatoes and the surprises that a tomato grower receives.

“There are wonderful things all throughout… each year, you find new favorites,” said Daigre during the session. “We try to educate, so you can make a better choice.”

For more tidbits on growing tomatoes this spring, check out Tomatomania! for information on iPhone applications, links to social media, and updates on upcoming events.

Carol Schilling April 02, 2012 at 04:02 PM
This was my second year of buying at Tomatomania. I was so excited and picked up 8 different plants -3 that were brand new to me. Well with all that buying I just wore myself out and had to refresh myself at Goldsteins' Bagels. It worked!!
Nicole Charky April 02, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Sounds like a sweet weekend, Carol! It's crazy to me how many types of tomatoes there are. Which kind did you pick out?
Connie K. Ho April 02, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Tomatomania definitely made me hungry for tomatoes, can't wait to see them when they ripe in the summer!

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