And sometimes seed plans don't go so well. This year, I messed up my tomato and eggplant seedlings pretty badly, going out of town just when they were emerging, and failing to provide them with enough light. I was crushed — what about my heirloom Riesentraube? My Black Krims? My little Fairy Tale eggplants? Would I be stuck with whatever varieties happened to be at my local nursery? Buying plants can get expensive, and if you want organic plants it's even worse. I did find a few plants at the farmers market, but no eggplant or cukes.
Then I happened on Sweet Corn Organic Nursery, which is based in Arizona, and owned by Kim Wilhelm and Bryan Jones. They have a great catalog of seeds, organic fertilizing and feeding products, and a wide selection of organic seedlings — including, to my delight, the Riesentraube cherry tomato. To sweeten the deal, they offer free shipping on all their baby plants.
I'm afraid I got a little carried away; I ordered baby tomatoes, eggplants, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, and a melon. The prices were very reasonable, and hey, free shipping. I had a question about my order, too, and Kim responded personally and promptly.
The baby plants arrived quickly in perfect condition, with a small packet of stress-relieving feed solution and detailed, friendly instructions on how to care for the plants. This is a detail that is often overlooked by nurseries (I've ordered from quite a few, in the past). Bryan and Kim give careful instructions on hardening off the plants; it's important to let baby plants gradually adjust to outdoor weather and sun by putting them out during the day and bringing them in at night.
I did this, and my baby vegetables are now thriving in the garden. I was especially impressed by the tomatoes; instead of tall, spindly greenhouse tomato plants, these were short and stout, with a fat central stalk and well-formed, dark green leaves. Very nice!
My only quibble, if I have to have one, is that there is no way to track your package, once shipped. But shipping was very quick (2-3 days) and they do send you a confirmation the day it ships.
Overall, I can't recommend these folks highly enough. I was so grateful to still have a chance to plant my favorite sort of tomato, and some other vegetables, even though I didn't start them from seed three months ago. I liked them so much, in fact, that I ordered just a few more things! So just remember: It's not too late!
(Images: Faith Durand; Sweet Corn Organic Nursery)
- Founded by: Bryan Jones and Kim Wilhelm