Not all vegetable sections are created equal. Some nurseries concentrate on culinary herbs while others focus on ancient Italian heirlooms. After staring for several minutes at a laminated placard describing scarlet runner beans that failed to mention nitrogen fixation, ediblity or perennialization, I decided to develop a “permaculture rubric” to evaluate our local nurseries. In the next few weeks I will be piling on tweed sports coats, fake mustaches and flower print dresses – doing a little investigative work. Which nurseries are selling what edibles? Where do they buy their plants from? How many perennial edibles do they carry? What are their top sellers?
I hope that conducting some on the ground research will not only direct readers to nurseries that stock useful plants, but will also illuminate current trends in the retail vegetable market. How much demand exists for what vegetables? Is there an opportunity for nurseries to be educational and demonstration sites for unusual, but incredibly useful and important plants? I would like to know how the retail market is positioning itself to attract the burgeoning wave of well-informed urban gardeners.
To begin this investigation. I would like to see what your favorite East Bay nurseries are. Please vote below. I understand that certain nurseries maintain specific niche markets. Perhaps vote on the nursery you most regularly attend. Thanks for your input.