The Hottest Thing in…Veg!

Vegetable transplants and herbs were a bright spot last year (and the one previous) for most retail growers and independent garden centers.  Seed and transplant companies have taken note – saw lots of veg and herbs at the normally-ornamental trade shows.  As always, some good ideas, some a bit far-fetched…

Pelleted lettuce seed (much easier to handle) mixes for the grower to create patio-size planters. Not bad! Snipping a few leaves will be fine, but if you eat salad more than once a month, you’re gonna need a bigger pot.

Basil and Swiss Chard plugs (seedlings), grown by Rakers Acres in Michigan, and shipped to greenhouse growers for “bumping up” to bigger pots to sell.

Saw lots of garden center marketing ideas such as this one from Burpee. Unfortunately, I have a very strong aversion to the word “fixins.”

Oh just stop it. An onion, in a pot. What the heck are you supposed to do with that?!

7 thoughts on “The Hottest Thing in…Veg!”

  1. Onion in a pot… grow it on the deck if you don’t have a garden plot. In fact, grow a whole bunch of them in pots. Harvest a few tops for cooking and then eat the bulb. I would grow onions in the kitchen if I didn’t have some place outside to grow them. They’re cheap and easy and very rewarding, both in the growing and the eating!

    A question for Holly – were there many new varieties of veggies available or mostly the same old standbys?

  2. For the most part, I agree with you, Holly. This sort of thing definitely appeals to a very limited market. In high-density, urban areas, folks who only have a condo balcony to exercise their inner-ag love are the prime focus for this sort of stuff. I see no mainstream market for individually potted onions. But my grandmother would get huge pleasure from offering a salad of ingredients that she grew on her balcony for a special event. As far as cost goes, a potted onion is probably no more than a gardener with lots of space would pay for seeds or sets.

  3. While recipe gardens may seem like a gimmick to long-time vegetable gardeners, I think they may persuade non-gardeners to get started.

    I agree with you that “fixins” does little to make the package more attractive.

  4. At PPA last year, an Oregon grower said she did very well with garlic in 4″ pots – several customers repeatedly forgot to plant theirs in the fall so they’d simply buy them from her already started in the spring. And, according to Ball, newbie veggie growers are much more comfortable starting with an actively growing plant than a seed or a set (figuring they have a better chance of success if it’s already growing).

  5. It’s not the onion-in-a-pot that gets me. It’s the single stalk of corn that makes me question the integrity of nursery staff. Shouldn’t there be a sign by them explaining how corn is pollinated (wind, not insects) and that you’ll need several (at the least) seedlings planted in a bunch, in rows, in a cluster to produce enough corn for a meal ? And then to se
    e folks actually purchase it ?

  6. Ginny, the recipe gardens are, as you note, logical, especially for beginner – have seen “Pizza gardens” with basil, oregano, tomato and peppers. And I think the patio gardens are great – I put lettuce transplants into a window box just so I wouldn’t have to hike out to the big patch for a sandwich garnish. Paul, I always forget to plant garlic in the fall. I’d be a good customer.

    New stuff for Sandy G. – hearing a lot about the Tomaccio cherry tomato for drying, a few new eggplant varieties, everyone wants the Nero di Toscano Kale (gorgeous and tasty), and lots of interest in the new late blight-resistant tomato from the NC State breeding program (Defiant). Lettuce choices are exploding – much easier to get regionally- and seasonally-correct varieties.
    Laura B., corn transplants take the cake. Aargh.

  7. I prefer the farmer’s market whenever possible. The quality is just better when it’s been grown outside and in a big space for proper size. I’m with you on this one, Holly.

Leave a Reply