Why Bare Roots?
What it is: After a few years of experimentation, and with almost no requests for replacements, we are this year offering a wide range of ‘bare-root’ plants for sale. This means that, after receiving your order, we dig up a plant, or division of a plant, cut back the top, shake off most of the dirt, wrap the roots in moist paper and then plastic, wrap the whole plant in paper, and pack the plants in a prepaid Priority Mail box for immediate shipment. We ship early in the week so that you will receive the plants before the weekend. You should plant immediately, either direct into the garden or into pots, and provide appropriate after care (watering and, if necessary, shading).
Why we’re doing it: We think this is better than the conventional way of shipping potted plants.
- economy – instead of charging you, for example, $5 for a plant in a 3″ pot plus another $5 shipping, we can supply a (often larger) plant for $3, and (depending on quantities ordered) less than $2.00 / plant for shipping.
- ecology – This means we don’t have to buy the plastic pots, buy or make bushels of potting soil (peat moss, perlite), and water, fertilize and maintain the potted plants for weeks, months or perhaps years before selling.
- enjoyability – growing plants in pots is not that satisfying. A pot is far from the natural environment of a plant. We prefer to let our plants to grow wild – spread vigorously and/or generate abundant seedlings – and harvest the surplus for sales.
Experimental: We’ve been shipping plants this way for a few years, but are still working out the details. Not all plants can be handled like this: I wouldn’t attempt this with ginseng or wasabi, for example. Some spp. can be shipped bare root in spring or autumn, but not summer. Spring ephemerals (like ramps) will be shipped in spring or as dormant roots in summer and autumn. We will continue to refine our list of what can be shipped bare-root and when, based on feedback from our customers.