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Monday, January 9, 2012

Ramping up (and ranting on) for 2012 growing season

As Christine Daae sang in "Phantom of the Opera":  

What horrors wait for me?

That would be mess I need to clean up in the basement plant lab before I can start seeds, cuttings and WS containers.  *whew*  What a PIT.  Every year I promise myself that I'll not just toss everything willy-nilly at the end of the growing season.

But it's just so EASY to do that - and then close the door for a couple of months.  My bad.

Here's the incentive.  Not only do I have a nice stash of older packaged seeds, but I saved some goodies from last year's garden.

I'm especially excited about the Blue Lake bush bean seeds.  Those 12 plants yielded around 15# of beans.  Magic beans indeed.  I've got almost a cup of seeds to sow outside this Spring.

I saved lots of sweet Joe Pye because they are tall, perennial and like semi-shade.  I'm using them to replace the tall, screening poke weeds I pulled out last year (between me and the golf course).

I refuse to buy seeds from catalogs anymore.  Last year I bought from 2 companies:  Pinetree Garden Seeds and Specialty Perennials (from Hardy Plants).

I hate unsolicited mail.  I REALLY HATE unwanted catalogs.  When I ordered seeds from both, I specified in VERY LARGE PRINT that I did not want printed catalogs and that my address must NOT be shared.

This month Pinetree sent me a catalog.  So did 5 OTHER SEED COMPANIES (Miller Nurseries, Totally Tomatoes, Vermont Bean Seed Company, R.H.Shumway's and Jungs)!  I emailed each and every one of them and read them the riot act.  I know Pinetree gave them my info because whenever I buy something online, I make a typo on the address so I can trace the data.  All of them came from Pinetree.  One of them even volunteered they got the data from Pinetree when I emailed them to cease and desist.  I flamed them good for illegally sharing my private data. (BTW Pinetree's response?  "Oh, we NEVER share info!"  A baldfaced LIE.)

As for Specialty Perennials, they didn't send me a catalog and didn't appear to share my data.  What they didn't do was ever fulfill LAST YEARS ORDER.  The initial order arrived short although the count was correct because they had DUPLICATED some of the order.  When I contacted them the first time they apologized and mailed off correcting packets.  But then I discovered other items I ordered never came.  The 2nd email received NO RESPONSE and no missing seeds. The seeds I DID receive either germinated poorly or not at all.  I would NEVER RECOMMEND that supplier to anyone.

And while I did like the seeds from Pinetree well enough, their business practices have totally turned me off.  It will be (probably) YEARS before my address gets out of the junk-fest that is seed catalog hell.

(Seems in this country, even when you tell someone (person, business, etc.) that you do NOT want something (calls, emails, mail, etc.), they callously ignore your request.  People.  NO means NO.  NOT just on a DATE!!  And if you make a fuss they look at you as if you are crazy.  Well, call me crazy.  My rights and wishes are eroded every day and it angers me no end.  Want to know why seeds cost so much and shipping is high?  Because they are busy printing and paying postage for UNSOLICITED CATALOGS that end up in landfills.)

The ease of ordering online from seed companies tempted me for YEARS, but I resisted, specifically for the Pinetree problem.  It took me taking a post office box to elude unwanted catalogs.  But my lapse of judgment last year has come to bite me bigtime.  From now on, if I want something from a catalog, I'll order from my mother's avalanche of seed catalogs.  She doesn't feel her privacy has been invaded by the unsolicited crap that finds their way to her mailbox.  She doesn't get out much and actually likes getting mail.  Glad I didn't get that particular gene!

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  1. I get lots of catalogs too and haven't ordered from most of them in years. The postage now makes it almost prohibitive!

    I don't get quite as annoyed as you.....but I rarely even browse through them. Pinetree is one whose postage was way too high.

    I haven't even checked my seeds yet; I just can't get in the gardening mode.

  2. Glenda - What's really chaps me is that by sending out unsolicited catalogs it forces the eco-minded to have to deal with trash. Some catalogs are shiny and use toxic ink so they can't be composted. They have to be landfilled - which means the recipient must pay for trash service to remove what was never wanted in the first place. Yes, it does make me cranky. And distributing private info is unethical.

    I'm not really in garden mode either. And this mild, unsnowy winter is unsettling. But I do have to clean the basement (else I'm going to break my neck tripping over stuff - the stick). I figure if I grow some greens like last year, at least I'll have a goal to shoot for (the carrot).

    I hope you have better rain this coming season and that your drought doesn't extend into a 2nd year.


Looking forward to hearing from you. :-D