Monday, March 16, 2009

Value-added transplants

A quick trip to a local big-box home supply store required an initial detour through the garden center's display of vegetables and herbs (not the point of the excursion!) It looked like there were more plants than the last time I visited.

I wasn't surprised with the array of hardy kale, cabbage, and other transplants. Even the herb varieties offered up looked OK, although cilantro and arugula transplants are decidedly unsuited to the warm spring weather that's just around the corner here.

But I've got to give the transplant producing company credit for being proactive and imaginative; they had snap pea transplants (!) for sale (also labeled as sweet peas...), onion plants in 6-packs, and a number of other things that I hadn't seen offered before in previous seasons. Now snow peas are very easy to sow directly, and best grown that way, but geez, what a clever idea to try to get folks to buy a 6-pack for more than the price of a packet of seeds? They were attractive, too; they might even grow well if very gently and quickly transplanted.

Less reasonable were the bean plants (it's still a month until our last frost date). They're not likely to be successful if planted out now, and neither will the cucumber and squash plants also on offer. The Mr. Stripey tomatoes (and all the regular Early Girl sorts) looked nice enough now, having recently been delivered from warm greenhouses, but wouldn't be happy in the currently cold, wet soil, not to mention air temperatures below 50° F. This is simply value-added marketing at work.

I felt like nabbing Mr. Stripey and bringing him home to put on the heating mat under grow lights for the next month. Oh, dear.

I'm glad that the main producers are providing a greater variety of transplants, and maybe encouraging beginning gardeners, but do wish that plants were provided at the right time to plant! To their credit, the info on their (the producers) website is decent.


  1. Oh this is a pet peeve of mine. I have been known to stand at the display and warn people about planting tomatoes too early and about the perils of pot-bound peppers and eggplants. I'm glad I haven't had a reason to go to the box stores recently, though. I'd probably try those peas just to see how they'd do-- even though I planted seeds.

    If there is a heaven, arugula and cilantro thrive there at the same time as the tomatoes ripen.

  2. It's a constant source of amazement to see what's offered up, even though I end up feeling like I need to rescue poor, unsuspecting transplants.

    Those peas were tempting-- maybe they'd be fine after transplanting and encourage someone new in a vegetable gardening direction. You never know!


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