Just returned from a mega field trip across the state of Virginia with my Ornamental Plant Production & Marketing class. We toured major wholesale nurseries, greenhouses, and retail garden centers over the course of three days. The trip went well, I believe (university field trips are a considered a success if you return with the same number of students you left with).
One over-arching trend is, of course, that growers and retailers are going after the veg/fruit thing in a big way. Bonnie Plants has been one of the few vegetable transplant growers for the big box stores; now others are getting in on the act. Wholesale growers who traditionally supplied woodies and perennials to independent garden centers are including veg plants and herbs in their product mix.
Even the packaging is changing from the ubiquitous paper cup or poly 6-pack. Coconut fiber (coir) pots are a step up from peat pots – they hold up better for the grower and garden center but are still plantable or compostable.
I can’t decide whether these pre-planted bean cages are ridiculous or genius. The students rated them “very cool”. But how many beans can you get off of three plants?
Take some galvanized tomato cages, paint them bright colors, and charge three times the usual price. Who on earth would go for this? Oh wait, that would be me. Two. In orange. Cram ’em in the van, people.