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About Our Plants

About Our Plants:

      All of our plants are shipped in pots, not bare root. Although growing and shipping in pots costs us more, we believe that it is best for the plants as they experience less shock. Unless specified, plants are shipped in 2 1/2" by 3" pots. They have vigorous and healthy roots and are ready to take off and get growing in your garden.

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About our growing methods:

     Although we are not certified organic, we do grow that way. It is what we believe in, and the only way we have ever farmed. Our seed is all untreated and much of it is organic. We have not found a commercial soil mix that is acceptable to us, so we mix our own. We mix peat moss, compost, perlite, and dolomitic limestone together in big piles. It is labor intensive, but produces a superior, organic planting mix, and we believe your plants deserve it.

     We feed the plants with fish and kelp products, and also foliar feed with the same if the plants need it.  We use organic pest sprays only if necessary. Most years we only have trouble with flea beetles on the eggplants, tomatillos, and ground cherries. We dust the plants with diatomaceous earth with sulfur, and you will often see a residue on your plants. Every few years we get a few aphids on our pepper plants, and then we spray with insecticidal soap. For diseases, (very, very rare for us), we simply remove and destroy any infected plants. I actually can't remember if we have ever had a disease in our greenhouse.

     I have learned, over 20 years of greenhouse growing, that most diseases and pests, and especially aphids, are caused by over feeding the plants. Most growers want to produce a large leaved, deep green, lush looking plant for sale. Customers are drawn to these plants. It is an unfortunate fact that plants that look like that are usually heavily over fertilized, are very tender and weak, and have more leaves than their roots will support. This causes many problems when you take that plant home. Pests and diseases are attracted to the weak, lush foliage. The plant suffers shock when planted out because the root system cannot pump water up to the over-grown leaves fast enough. And, the leaves generally suffer from sunburn because they are so tender. I call these plants "Miracle Grow Addicts." 

     Our goal is to provide you with a hardy, well rooted plant that will withstand the rigors of shipping and take off and grow for you. Please don't judge our plants by the size and lushness of the leaves. Rather, look at the roots. At the transplant stage of a plant's life, the roots are much more important than the tops. Plants with weak roots will just sit and sulk and suffer in your garden until they can grow more roots. You simply cannot grow a huge plant in a small, shipping sized pot that will perform well when transplanted out.

     We do not over feed our plants. We do not want a plant that has a big, weak top and small roots. We want a tough, hardy plant with strong roots. Our plants are ready to take off and really grow for you. We hear it from customers over and over again that our plants out-perform every other plant in their gardens.


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About Our Seed Sources: 
 
     We produce some of our own seed and we purchase seeds only from companies that have signed the Safe Seed Pledge, so you don't have to worry about GMO's (genetically modified organisms). We will never knowingly sell any product with GMO's in it. 

     We also do not knowingly sell any Seminis/Monsanto varieties. Seminis breeds and produces many of the popular varieties of vegetable seed sold in this country. They are not, or were not, involved in producing genetically modified seed. But, a couple of years back Monsanto bought Seminis. This was quite a blow to concerned growers as most of us are not at all happy with Monsanto's business practices and products (Round Up, Round Up ready soybeans, BGH, etc). Quite a few of us small growers have decided to no longer grow any Seminis varieties. We had to drop some of our most popular varieties, but it has been a dozen years now and we have found excellent replacements. Since that time, Monsanto has purchased even more seed companies. Keep reading for more information about how to avoid purchasing any Monsanto owned varieties.

 About Tomatoes: 

     Indeterminate means the plant will continue to grow until killed by frost. These are the plants that get large. They tend to bear later than determinates, and have better quality fruits. In a long season they will eventually out-produce the determinates. These need to be caged or trellised. Pruning will keep them from taking over the garden and
 will get you bigger and earlier ripening fruits. 
 
     Determinate means that the plant stops growing at some point and concentrates on ripening its fruit. These have larger, earlier production than the indeterminates, and are generally the best suited to colder climates. The plants stay smaller and don't need to be caged or trellised. However, the fruit will be better quality and less prone to cracking and disease if you do provide support. Do not prune determinates. These are better for containers than the indeterminates. 

Heirloom, Open-Pollinated, or Hybrid? 

Open-pollinated means that the variety has been bred until its genetics are stable. In other words, you can save seed from these, and as long as no cross pollination with another variety has occurred, your seeds will produce plants like the parent plants. 

     An heirloom is an open-pollinated variety that has been around for a while. How long? It depends on who you ask. With all the hype about heirlooms these days, the industry is shortening the length of time required to call a variety heirloom. Twenty years is now an acceptable amount of time to some, although most folks require that a variety should be pre-1950 to be called an heirloom. An exciting thing is happening with tomato breeding these days. There are several very talented breeders who are using heirloom genetics to breed new varieties. These new varieties are open pollinated, stable crosses from heirloom parents. We carry quite a few of these, like the Bumblebees, the Artisan series, etc. You will see them listed as open pollinated but not heirloom on our site.

A hybrid is a cross between two or more open-pollinated varieties. Hybrids tend to be more vigorous and have more disease and stress resistance. This is not always the case, however, as it depends on what an open-pollinated tomato was bred for. We only carry one hybrid variety in our store, Sungold Cherry Tomato (produced by a Japanese company not owned by Monsanto). Saving seeds from hybrids is a risky business as they usually don't breed true to type. We don't personally have anything against hybrids, we just prefer open pollinated varieties that we and you can save seeds from. Also, most of the popular hybrid varieties available these days come from companies owned by Monsanto. It is actually difficult to avoid Monsanto controlled varieties because it is not often clear who is producing the seeds you buy. So, we avoid that conundrum by avoiding hybrids.


About Days to Maturity: 

     The amount of days listed after the variety's name is the amount of days after transplanting that the first ripe fruit will be ready in a "normal" year in the climate the tester grows in (or an average from different locales). If you are in a coastal region, the north, or anywhere with cool nights or little sun, your days to maturity will be longer. If you are in a hot climate with very warm nights, your days to maturity will be less. So, take the number with a grain of salt and use it to compare one variety to another rather than plan a future menu around it.