This has been one of the longest periods between posts for me. We have been busy. It's starting to slow down now that school is out and vacations are here. We think that business will be better this summer than in past summers since most people are staying close to home this year. Fertilizers, pest control, and 4" color should continue to sell well thorough the summer. Where was the growth this year for us? Vegetables, fruit trees, organic fertilizers, premium potting soils, 4" perennials at $3.99 and $4.99. The 4" size has gone over really well as it's a few dollars less than a one gallon can and you don't have to dig as big a hole. Really the most excitment comes from the premium potting soils and organic fertilizers. They have been flying out of here this spring. We carry Foxfarm Ocean Forest, E.B. Stone "Ednas Best", and Natural and Organic Black Gold.
The availability lists at the wholesale level have never been so full. Rising sales are not lifing all boats. I beleive the wholesale growers of one gallon size plants, and larger, are suffering this year. It has been edibles, 4" size plants, and organics, that have carried the day. Now we have to help people keep those plants growing and healthy. We love people who bring us samples in plastic bags of insect problems or other concerns. It allows us to show case organic controls that may have not existed before. Sluggo plus is a boon for us as earwigs are a much bigger problem here than snails and slugs.Â It's our first organic, pet safe, earwig control and it's selling very well (our price is the same as Amazon, $11.99).
One other big reason we have had a great year so far has been our beautiful spring, where we dodged the drought and have had temperatures in the 70's and 80's F.Â The weather is always the most important variable in our sales. That's the price of working with nature. So this year we hit the weather jackpot. Other nurseries in other parts of the country may not be so weather lucky. When one thinks of all the variables at play in our business, it's a wonder we continue to do it. That's the life of farming and the farmer. We in the garden center business are farmers like those that grow alfalfa, or any other crop.
And when all is said and done this year, I hope we have opened the gardening door for some new gardeners. They will find out that not all Springs are as nice to our crops as this one. Bugs and disease will take their toll. Gardening can be hard work, but if you keep it up the rewards will unfold over time. A nation of new gardeners is exactly what the independent garden center has been wishing for.