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?

bean thingies

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.

I must have eet

4 thoughts on “Products!”

  1. I guess that even sensible gardeners are attracted to new products they didn’t
    know they needed.

  2. When White Flower Farms came out with their first catalog to include vegetable starts I was reminded of the world’s fishermen, who having fished out the predator fish stocks have now begun to haul in what used to be considered either bait or bycatch. Shrimp, anyone?

    I will say that those tomato cages are exerting a powerful pull; I may have to see what cool colors might stick to my old galvanized ones.

  3. Deb, I think a can of Krylon would go a long way. I had that exact thought when I was standing there, and then thought “who am I kidding, I’ll never get around to it” and just bought ’em. Very satisfying – funky yet functional!

  4. Wasn’t a Bonnie’s greenhouse the source of late blight that decimated us here in the northeast last summer?

    The thought of a lot more wholesalers and big box stores not familiar with healthy seedlings getting into veg and fruit production makes me nervous.

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