Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sure sign that it's almost Garden time!

You know, there are certain things throughout the year that are signs of what's to come.  Signs that you can count on every year.  It could be leaves turning telling you it's almost fall. The days getting shorter means almost winter.  Seeing more and more school supplies building up at the store means it's almost back-to-school.  Restless children means school is almost over!  For me, seeing this catalog confirms that it's almost garden time!

I love, love, love seeing the arrival of this book!  Cox's happens to be near where I used to live, that's how I became familiar with it.  In my humble opinion, it happens to be the best Plant farm within driving distance.  This book only comes out once a year and they have coupons in it!  Double bonus!

Seriously, I love this place because it is huge and has everything you could imagine for a gardener.  They have veggie plants and seeds, flowers both for the yard and for the house.  They have tools and accessories, even yard decorations.  

Funny side story...I had a friend who had been living with her significant other for probably 8 years when they decided to get married.  Now, I ask you, what do you buy newlyweds who've lived together that long?  They certainly didn't need a toaster!  While I was at Cox's shortly before the wedding, I stumbled onto the perfect gift.  I got them a concrete gargoyle for the yard.  It's was a given that this wasn't something they already had!  They have a wicked sense of humor so they both loved it and all these years later, it still sits in front of their home!

I am now about 25 miles from Cox's and still make the trip out there for my garden.  In fact, my family knows that this is what I want for Mother's day.  I want to go to Cox's and get what I need for my garden, taking as long as I want with out any complaints or "are we done yet".  I get my garden veggies and they pick out some flowers for the front of my house for my Mother's day gift.  Check them out!

I would highly suggest, if you aren't close enough to drive to Cox's, that you find your own version.  I like places like Cox's because, unlike the "big box" stores, Cox's doesn't ship in their plants.  They start everything from seed, nurture them until they are the size that you can easily put into your garden.  The bonus is that they're cheaper than the big box stores too (and don't forget, they have coupons!  LOL).  They don't hide what their doing either.  As you wander through the greenhouse (it's HUGE) you can see plants at different stages of growth.  

An experienced staff is imperative too.  Most questions I've ever had can be answered by the staff on the floor of the greenhouse.  Mr. Cox is there, on the floor as well.  I have NEVER had a question that he couldn't answer.  He also has a lot of creative answers to things that you might not have thought of.  He can help you whether you use chemicals or want to go all natural.  It would serve all gardeners well to find somewhere to get this type of advice when you need it.  

I would suggest that where ever you live, you find your own Cox's Plant Farm! I'd go explore different greenhouses, take a little time to look around at a few before you settle on one.  You want one that first and foremost, has a knowledgeable staff that can answer questions, that are friendly and not put off by questions.  You want to find one that isn't afraid for you to see what they're doing, they shouldn't have anything to hide.  You want to know if they ship in the plants and are just a retailer or if they truly are a plant farm and grow their own.  Are there guarantees?  I know at Cox's there isn't a guarantee on veggie plants but for things like trees or roses, they do guarantee them for a year or they'll replace them.  

In my opinion, any plant farm you go to should also be reasonably priced.  Just because something is four times the price does NOT make it better.  They're veggie plants.  Cox's is reasonably priced, even their heirloom veggie plants are priced the same as the regular ones.  Any place you go should have a variety as well.  I looked for Leek plants to try one year (it was an after thought for the garden) and no where in the city had them, not even the plant stores here.  I found them at Cox's.  I should have just started there.

Bottom line, you should find a place to buy your garden plants that care as much about gardening as you do.  The people running it should be friendly and willing to answer questions beyond "How much does this cost".  They should have a wide variety of plants, even multiple varieties of a veggie.  It's a bonus if they also offer pricing for flats, not just individual containers that have 4-6 plants in them.

Now that my homework for the week is done, I can start going through my Spring catalog and making my list and checking it twice!  LOL.  It's almost garden time!

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