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Tomatomania sales and other events that can jump-start spring gardens

In Southern California, spring is a good time for gardeners to start thinking about planting vegetable beds and perusing the hundreds of tomato varieties that are available.

Curious about rare plants with strange titles like Black Sea Man, Chile Verde and Sweet Tangerine? Or just want some tips on short-season tomatoes? You'll find it at Tomatomania, a mobile one-stop shop for planting tomatoes that includes everything you need to successfully grow tomatoes: plants, soils, containers, stakes, fertilizers, books and tie tape, as well as hands-on advice from tomato experts.

Tomatomania pop-up plant sales are in full throttle and are scheduled at a variety of gardens and nurseries this weekend and beyond:

Saturday: South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (310) 544-6815.

Saturday and Sunday: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. (909) 625-8767.

Grow Native Nursery, a division of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, on Davis Avenue on the Veteran's Affairs grounds and just north of UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium, Westwood. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (424) 234-0481.

April 11-12: Otto & Sons Nursery, 1835 E. Guiberson Road, Fillmore. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (805) 524-2123.

April 12-13: Flora Gardens Nursery, 245 Old Baldwin Road, Ojai. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (805) 640-0055.

In other local events, Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farm in Paso Robles will bring more than 90 organic tomato varieties and vegetables to the Ocean View Farms Community Garden Tomatobration this weekend (April 5-6). She will also host a question-and-answer session each day at 10 a.m. Sale hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or until all the plants are sold. Ocean View Farms is at Centinela and Rose avenues in West Los Angeles.

On Sunday, the Eagle Rockdale Community Garden will host an open house and seedling sale with more than 1,000 organically grown tomato, pepper, squash, basil and other vegetable seedlings. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1003 Rockdale Ave., Eagle Rock.

Next week, horticulturist Steve Goto will share his tomato tips and top tomato picks for 2014 at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden on April 9. Following the 10 a.m. talk, shop for organic heirloom tomatoes and other vegetables at the spring plant sale. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through April 13. 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. (626) 821-3222.

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lisa.boone@latimes.com

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