Guest Post by Kathy Jentz, Publisher/Editor of Washington Gardener Magazine
We hear a lot these days about locally grown food to help the environment and local farmers, too. Have you given any thought to not only buying locally grown tomatoes, but also to purchasing locally grown tomato seedling plants, as well? Do you know where your garden plants are coming from? Many of you may be surprised to learn how many of the plants in your yard have traveled over a thousand miles to get here.
But that’s starting to change, as many gardeners are educating themselves about where their plant purchases originate and are buying locally grown plants as much as possible. Here are five key reasons why:
- Plants grown here are accustomed to native soils and conditions. They are generally superior in their adaptation to the local DC-area weather patterns of a usual rainy spring followed by a mid-summer drought period.
- By purchasing locally grown plants you are supporting local farmers and nurseries. Their growing fields will stay in business and stay green. Helping all of us breathe cleaner air and keeping the land out of sprawl developers hands.
- Plants that are grown locally save on fuel and transportation costs. They are not shipped from overseas or across the country. Why buy dogwoods or roses grown in Oregon and trucked out here, when you can get the same exact variety grown in the Mid-Atlantic by local nurseries and wholesalers?
- Local plants are “fresher.” In general, locally grown plants come to the marketplace right when they are about to hit their peak bloom. Local growers can time their offerings better and adjust their inventory to the marketplace swifter than those who need to transport their plant products over a long distance. You are also not risking introducing foreign bug and disease problems to your garden.
- Growers in our area are a great source of local plant knowledge. You can visit a local tree nurseryman and pick out a tree right from his farm after consulting with him on the best one for your needs. Local planting fields are great daytrips to see what is thriving and what new varieties are doing well in our climate.
Next time you are shopping for plants, look for “locally grown” on the label or a location listing of where they were raised. If not on the label, ask.
Taken from an article by Kathy in Washington Gardener Magazine. The magazine covers gardening in the Mid-Atlantic region only, and it’s written by regional garden writers.