An Unlikely Destination for Green Thumbs

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 | 5:04 pm

Think farmers markets are just for chefs and the health conscious? Think again. There’s a place for green thumbs at your local farmers markets, too.

IMG_20150801_091935160(1)Fruits and vegetables are just a portion of the goodies you’ll find at the Farmers Markets in Pasadena. While that incredibly fresh produce is worth making the trip for, if you are looking for something new you will not be disappointed. Flowers, plants and succulents are all available for you to buy at this versatile farmer’s market, not to mention a few other natural treats for the garden you may want to stop in for.

The Pasadena Certified Farmers Markets carry an array of plants, many drought resistant, sold by knowledgeable vendors who will even help you pick the right plant for the right spot in your garden.

Next time you need a gorgeous bouquet of fresh cut flowers skip the florist and head on down to the farmer’s market. There are a group of high school students from Muir Ranch, www.muirranch.org, that grow their own flowers alongside fresh produce in their school’s garden. Students harvest the flowers and bring them into the market to be sold in bunches or custom arrangements. Students even do the arrangements themselves.

Insiders know to ask for a young man named Manny; he can come up with just the right bouquet for your special occasion. So if you forgot your anniversary or your mom’s birthday rest assured Manny can get you out of the dog house.

Gretchen Sterling of the Pasadena Farmers Markets shares that not only do the markets offer plants, but they also offer ways to keep them healthy. She alternates weekly visits between two vendors who offer unusual plant treatments. The first is a gentleman who brings in ladybugs, praying mantises and other beneficial insects that help keep your whole garden pest free.

Buying insects not normally your cup of tea? Then consider the next vendor.

The second gentlemen offers a solution called compost tea. It is actually a living organism, brewed with the castings of worms. The purpose of the tea is to help aid your plants absorption of water—perfect for helping keep your plants healthy during our drought. After getting the solution you must mix it and use it within 24 hours or the solution will turn back into water. How cool is that?

So rethink the way you shop for your garden and consider checking out your local Farmers Market the next time you need to replace a plant or spruce things up. You might get more than you bargained for!

Pasadena Farmers’ Market Villa Parke Center is at 363 East Villa Street. Open Tuesdays 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Pasadena Farmers’ Market Victory Park is at in the 2900 block of North Sierra Madre Boulevard. Open Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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