February 6 ~
Forgive me while I agonize, but.....it is now day 2 of this ordering blitz and on top of getting everything needed, I also have to decide what I really want. This time of year, when my back is not aching from all day weeding, I have big dreams and am full of ambition about growing most things from seed--I do have a greenhouse after all. Greenhouse or not, though, some herbs are really finicky and/or slow to germinate--so while I am equipped to grow them, I know I will grow to resent them when I want to be doing other things, or wondering if they will ever be big enough to plant out THIS YEAR!!!
I simply will not grow thyme, rosemary, lavender, oregano from seed. I also find it difficult to grow certain "easy" plants like castor, skullcap, horehound because my microclimate makes them too vulnerable to become well established--thay barely ever make it through the summer--much less the winter. Many perennial flowers are on my "no seeds" list too. I have tried and they just do not do well for me---but all gardeners like a challenge, or think "this year will be different".....all sorts of denial set in...... The money issue does come into play--plants are expensive--but these days, so are seeds! My experience has been that once a reliable plant source is found, it ends up being more economical almost from the beginning, because I can display good sized plants for students the first year, as well as get a decent harvest and unless I made a mistake in ordering appropriate plants, they always survive. When ordering from a company for the first time, order only a few, to make sure they do well. I only buy plants from a few local nurseries--where I can SEE them and choose the healthiest and from one mail order company. I have tried several places--some of the plants look beautiful when I take them out of the box---but they have been pampered and are tender and weak. I end up losing more than 75%. So, I buy seeds when plants are not available, if they are known to be suited to the Northeast, if they germinate within a week or so (exceptions for carrots and parsley--who take their time, but also take care of themselves) and if I use a lot of a particular plant and need so many that buying plants would be initially prohibitive. Now, however, I also buy plants of things like Coffee and other tender perennials that can overwinter in the greenhouse.
So, I put in a big order with Companion Plants in Ohio http://companionplants.com/ who have served me well for so many years. They have great prices, but mostly, they have a huge variety of STURDY, run of the mill and exotic herbs. I do a lot of gardening, pampering of seedlings.....buying plants is my gift to myself of instant gratification.
Next, on to buying general supplies from Frontier http://www.frontiercoop.com/ , Mountain Rose Herbs http://mountainroseherbs.com/ and Jean's Greens http://www.jeansgreens.com/. Then, more technical supplies...boxes, bottles and jars-Oh my! It is going to be a very late night.