Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bad Luck or Disturbing Trend?

De and I went to get our garden plants yesterday and encountered some unpleasant surprises.  We went to our "go to" greenhouse, and discovered the garden plant section had been cut in half in favor of  flowers and landscaping plants.  The Sausage tomatoes we love instead of the traditional Romas were no where to be found and, we were told, would not be available this season.  We got some of what we needed and moved on hoping for better luck at another greenhouse.

After visiting four greenhouses we still are need of a few plants,mostly tomatoes.  In each case we found 1) the garden plant section had been reduced from the previous years allocation, and 2) the plants available were almost exclusively the same mass produced, factory, "brand name" varieties that we have found to be mediocre performers and yield an inferior product.

In our area there are a lot of small lakes with lots (and lots) of summer lake cottages.  It appears greenhouses may be getting a "bigger dollar" by selling to "lakers" getting their summer landscaping and flower gardens in order and folks who raise a small summer "salad" garden only,  than to persons putting in larger "country" gardens with a focus on varieties that preserve well. 

Since we are striving to have some degree of food independence and to generate a garden harvest of really good-and-good-for-you fruits and veggies, this is a disturbing trend.  Our next trip out will be further out to greenhouses in an area with a large population of Amish and Mennonite families (and fewer lakes) which, we hope, will have more freezing, canning and winter storage varieties available. 

So I'm curious.  Is the trend toward greenhouses offering more landscaping and flower garden items and less "country garden" plants a local phenomenon, or is it more wide-spread?   If you have this problem in your area, how are you coping?  What say you all?

Col. 1:9-12,



  1. I know up here all the greenhouses carry the same "branded" flowers--same old, same old. I like UNIQUE--and that's getting HARD to find.
    As for the veggie starts, I'm afraid you're gonna have to start raising your own. Grab a stack o' catalogs this winter and start reading. It's the only way anymore. Best of luck

    1. I was afraid the trend towards "corporate" brands and flowers-before-food was more than a local problem. I suspect you are right. Time to start figuring out where the 'nursery' is going to be.

  2. This is the very reason I search out and purchase heirloom seeds and seeds that are advertised as organic. First off, buying started vegetable plants from a nursery or greenhouse doesn't guarantee (as you've found out) getting the varieties one wants. Second, I don't know what kind of "grow juice" is put on those started plants to insure they grow so well in those itty-bitty starting trays. Sure, it's a real pain in the patoot to go through the time and trouble of starting my plants at home from seed, but more and more it seems the only way to go.

    1. I had hoped to do the heirloom seed saving thing after retirement from the day job when there will be a little more time I can dedicate to it. It may not be able to wait any 4 years or so.

      And, now that I think of it, you are right about the funny soil and mystery fixins they are started in. It looks nice and dark, but its not anything like any of the dark soil on my place!