For details of sources for local seedlings, see the relevant part of the Local Food Directory.
Like many of you, I mostly grow my veggies from seed, sometimes from seeds that I have saved from previous years’ crops, sometimes from seeds I have swapped with someone else, and sometimes from seeds that I have bought. Because we are an organic-only household, any bought seeds have to be organic and, in my case, this usually means online purchasing from either Green Harvest or Eden Seeds.
So, why would I (or you) ever buy seedlings? Here are a few reasons:
- Germination failure: your sweetcorns fails to germinate (or are dug up by your chickens) and it’s too late to plant any more.
- Variety: you want to grow X different varieties of tomato, with 1 plant of each variety.
- Too good an opportunity to miss: you are walking round Eltham Farmers’ market and you see a punnet of really healthy looking bean seedlings.
- Impulse: somewhere between “too good an opportunity to miss” and “laziness”. The same reason that my husband buys chocolate.
- Space constraints: lack of a suitable area to propagate the seeds.
There are lots of places to buy seedlings locally but, in most cases, the seedlings themselves were not grown locally. Rather, if it is local seedlings that you are after then you have to be more selective.
The Mushroom Shed are based in Montmorency. They are the people that I was referring to when I talked about opportunities that are too good to miss. Helen’s seedlings are both exceptional and very keenly priced. You can buy them at many of the local markets (Eltham Farmers’, La Trobe University, St Andrews and Whitehorse Farmers’). As discussed in Guy’s guide to local mushrooms, The Mushroom Shed also sell mushroom kits.