Thursday, May 12, 2016
Current Plant Sources
I said I'd review the two places I've gotten most of my plants. I like local folks and I like people who really KNOW the plants. That said, if anyone wants to give me free plants I will love them and be ever grateful no matter where they came from.
Here are the two places I've gotten most of my orchard and ground cover plants for the land
Real Food Gardens (at least that's the name of their blog)
We'll start with Fiddler's Ridge. Potlatch, ID.
They are super close to where I live (like 10 miles which in north Idaho qualifies as next door neighbors).
They don't seem to have a website and the facebook is pretty out of date. These are my kind of people. (I know...ironic since I have a blog.)
ANYWAY: They are awesome and during planting season they have an outpost location in Moscow, ID in the parking lot of the old Tidyman's. If are within range of Moscow, you already know where that is. If you aren't in driving range, then you don't need to know where that is because you aren't coming. Shop local.
These folks KNOW the area, the climate, the soils, and of course the plants. They are extremely helpful with what will most likely grow in your location, if you are from the area. They've helped me out with proper plants. I dropped some change their in fall 2015 and they gave me flat after flat of ground cover (various thyme, sedum, catmint, buckwheat, etc), about a dozen fern bush (hadn't ever heard of that), chokecherries, a currant, and a rabbit brush. ALL that they sold me lived through the winter. And they gave me one heck of a deal on everything.
The year before, I think or maybe spring 2015, I got gooseberry, currants, hazelnut, currant, blueberry, and a variety of other things. The summer of 2015 was absolutely BRUTAL and I had no well. Tried hand carrying water but alas, some of the plants didn't make it. The currants from that year DID come back! Not a leaf on them in 2015, but this year 2 or 3 of the 5 (I thought I bought 6 but can't find one. Sometimes the deer help me with orchard planning) are showing leaves on new shoots from the roots. WOW.
A blueberry I got from them and stuck in a container for lack of knowing where to put it is doing great.
This year I've gotten a variety of raspberries (10 starts in all), 2 blueberries, different varieties, and a bush cherry start. All are doing wonderfully. If I get the well going properly, we'll be in business.
The advice they give is priceless. And the plants are super healthy. I've also bought various soil amendments there and because both owners know right where my land is, they know what I'm coping with soil-(or lack there of)-wise. This year they are also helping me choose things the bees will love.
The one thing Fiddler's Ridge didn't have that I really really really really wanted was fruiting quince. I like to rock it odd-school (not a typo). Some day I hope to market things that are just a bit off the norm. Everyone has jam and apple cider and apple butter and the usual on sale at the farmers markets around here. So I'm going for niche markets that probably don't exist in my imaginary future food sales business. I also like odd things.
I searched the usual outlets for fruiting quince, local garden centers, nurseries. Nothing. I turned to the internet but most of the fruiting quince starts would be shipped from Florida or southern California. Yeah. Like that's going to work. Quince interests me because it's tough. I didn't want a version that I'd have to coddle and try to acclimate to the area. I want to stick it in a hole and leave it. (That didn't sound good).
In desperation I typed "quince" into a craigslist search and 2 ads popped up. I sent inquiries. One had grown their own. One was shipping in starts and potting them up. Guess which I chose. Yep. Growing from seed in the region.
The place is Real Food Gardens. It is near Hauser Lake, Idaho. Bit of a drive from here but the prices are crazy low so compensates for the price of gas. I've made 3 trips and sent multiple others up to them. I know one woman did go and got nice starts. These folks are lovely and amazing and start their own plants. We also seem to be on a page about getting out of the rat race and the like. Alas, I'm still rat racing but planning for the day when I can step off the wheel and just enjoy my place and my plants.
They have an extremely wide variety of options. I didn't even get to the herbs and other "garden" type plants. Too busy getting trees and berries in this year. Many tree/shrub starts are only 5$. Their website gives the rates and availability as well as excellent descriptions of the varieties. Their soil is very different from mine, but they are in a chilly location so that's a good thing to have in common. With the low prices, I can do some test runs. I plan to report back to them which things seem to thrive in my heavy soils.
This couple also is happy to share their extensive expertise.