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Originally published Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 7:01 PM

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Welcome spring (no kidding) with plant sales and gardening fun

Seattle Tilth's Edible Plant Sale, Meerkerk Rhododendron Garden's spring sale, and the Urban Gardening Super Saturday at Seward Park can help you welcome spring (which arrives late Monday in the Northwest).

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Spring begins officially at 10:14 p.m. Monday in our Pacific time zone, so — despite this week's snow — it's the right time to think about gardens (which can provide some of the cheapest fun we know, if you like digging in dirt and watching pea vines climb a string).

This weekend offers good opportunities to get your thumb greened up for the season (all St. Patrick's Day shtick aside):

• The Seattle Tilth Edible Plant Sale is the place to stock up on organically, sustainably and locally grown plant starts and rub dirt-caked elbows with some of the city's most horticulturally smart and pure of heart. It's 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday in Hangar 30 at Magnuson Park. It's free, except for what you invest in potential summer produce. See www.seattletilth.org. Shown here is Kasey Johnsen, of Wallingford, sniffing the fresh peppermint plants at last year's sale.

• For the ornamental side of your psyche, head to Whidbey Island's Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens, which waives its $5 entry fee during the Big Spring Sale of hybrid, species and heritage rhodies, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, in Greenbank. See www.meerkerkgardens.org.

• Seed starting, garden art and urban chicken-raising are featured at the free Urban Gardening Super Saturday event 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Seattle's Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center, with activities for the whole family. See sewardpark.audubon.org.

Brian J. Cantwell, Seattle Times travel staff

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