Customer Service WITH a side of TOMATO!
A few seasons ago, seed packets from the supermarket display had to be fine for my late gardening. I knew the tomatoes and peppers wouldn’t not be ready as quickly as I would like, but fall gardens do well in our part of the Ozarks.
I shopped the local greenhouses for some other plants — cucumbers and the cold crops.
We have very good choices for all pre-started plants at greenhouses. I love walking through them, window shopping. Often they are my choices, even for the ever present tomatoes and peppers.
Starting my own seeds for a later round of plants satisfies a yearning to plant before I can put the bigger plants out. Sometimes my efforts seem to be a waste of seeds. The years they work for me make up for failures. Other gardening neighbors use heirloom seeds to start their plants with a mission to maintain long ago plants.
I have childhood memories of going to the greenhouse with my mother to get tomato plants. We bought a handful of very small plants direct from a flat. No special, costly little pots for each one. We had to protect some very tender, tiny seedlings. The process was dig a hole, with one hand, hold the plant steady in the hole, with the other hand. pour in a tin can of water from a handy bucket, get in the mud to fill the hole around the plant. Prop a wooden shingle up beside the plant to protect it from hot sun and weather till its little roots could take hold. We didn’t worry about cut worms, etc, but they may have gotten a few.
My tomatoes, peppers and flowers will be started much the same way! I have some special rectangular tubs that work. A layer of newspaper will help retain moisture, followed by a couple inches of soupy wet peat moss. I scatter the seeds across the peat, press them down and sift a little more peat on top.
Seed Packets with almost NO seeds
The supermarket packets promised seeds that would magically become big, juicy BETTER BOY tomatoes. The sort of fruit I am craving when I shop for the seeds. A craving that doesn’t stop to consider that more than 3 months lay ahead before I will enjoy those magical red globes!
When I got to the planting table, the packet with Better Boy seeds had 5 or 6 seeds! These weren’t outrageously expensive packets, but so few seeds when I was expecting at least 70 set off cynical whining on my part! “These has better be some very good tomatoes to pay the same price for 5 or 6 seeds as for 70!”
While the seeds may have all germinated and survived to become enough Better Boy plants for me, the short packet didn’t seem right. I’ve seen the name Ferry Morse on seeds for ages. My expectations are higher.
Internet research found that Plantation Seeds distribute Ferry Morse seeds. Other disappointed gardeners had left stinky reviews on Google about the seeds they had received. Writing a bad review permits some venting, but doesn’t address the missing seed problem.
Contacting the seed company brings solutions
With pretty darn good tenacity, I called the seed company — the phone number was right there by the stinky reviews.
A very nice and well-spoken young woman listened to my plea. I asked her if the short number of seeds was correct because the plants would be so very special. She told me absolutely NO, it wasn’t intentional to have only 5-6 seeds in my little red envelope. She said she would be happy to send me some more seeds if I would only give her my mailing address.
Of course, I was more than happy to do that.
Planting a seed for the “Happy Status”
Less than a week later, a padded envelope arrived with THREE packets of Better Boy seeds.
Now, the seed planting should end all warm and fuzzy here, but this wasn’t in the stars.
Those packets had VERY little rattle when I shook them, Sure enough, there are probably close to the 70 anticipated seeds per pack in ALL THREE packets together. Of course, this is a lot more than I had last week and as many as i paid for, so I’m not hurt a bit. Plus the first round of seeds did have 100% germination with 3 surviving plants. Truly all that I need of this variety.
I am wishing that the seed fairies will provide the people at Plantation Products and Ferry Morse seeds a new scale in the packaging system so they can possibly be more accurate. I am very happy that I don’t have the job of measuring seeds to put in the packets.
Until the weight equipment is perfect, the next best thing I can offer is some seed shopping advice. Check the packages at the display in whatever store you choose before dropping them into the shopping cart and heading home. A ‘light rattle, may be indicating fewer seeds than promised, you may decide to grow a different plant. Or you may decide to go with what you can get. That packet of 5-6 plants is still less expensive than started plants.
A Seed of Real Value — Connecting
The ‘excellent price’ on the seed packets were not a bad deal. Just add the value of the therapy I gained from being at one with my little plants from the very beginning sprout.
The story of a “company that tried” brought an extra layer of joy to my gardening experiences. The people at Plantation Products made a courteous effort at customer service. If I have decided to nurse my cheated feelings, I would have missed the connection. There would be that little pinch of doubt whenever I walked past the seed displays at the market. That small negativity erodes the therapy I get from doing things from scratch. The future of The Legacy Gardens should lie in more effort to use heirloom seeds. Heirloom peppers are available through my friends at Ferry Morse like these. There are amazing packages of a wide variety of heirloom seeds available. New varieties are great, but seed saving is important to the future of our culture.
When you see links in my posts, assume they are affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am an affiliate with Amazon and other resources.
Gardening, especially seed planting, can be a solitary effort. I benefited once from the connection to the staff at Plantation Products. More benefits come with opportunities for me to share the story of the little person calling the big company to ask for help.
My writing at The Legacy Gardens will frequently be exhibited at The Writer’s Well — a safe and encouraging place for writers.