Plug mobs: Free seedlings for school gardeners

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Mud Baron was trained as a cabinetmaker and learned to economize by finding supplies no one else wanted. When he became a master gardener working to get supplies to school gardens, he figured there had to be a better way than shopping retail.

“Every industry has extra things,” he says. So he started asking growers for the “scratch-and-dent piles.”


Plug Connection in Vista had extras to donate, owner Tim Wada says. In 2006, Baron started what became “plug mobs” — events at which anyone connected with school gardens can show up and get all the seeds and plugs they can use. Community gardeners are welcome once the school gardeners are done.

Plugs are tiny young plants that come in trays, sometimes with hundreds of plants. Baron and his volunteers set the trays out buffet-style. People who show up often discover they share needs and experiences.

“They connect like nobody’s business,’ , he says. ‘It’s not a meeting, but people meet.”

Plug mobs are held at 9 a.m. the first Saturday of the month at the San Pedro Science Center, 2201 Barrywood Ave., San Pedro, and the third Saturday at John Muir High School, 1905 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena.

Participants need to bring their own containers for the plants.


Keeping up with Mud Baron

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— Mary MacVean