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The Value of Locally Grown Plants

Buying locally grown plants is best for the local economy, the environment and because they are better suited to our area and more likely to thrive in your yard.

These days it is pretty hard to ignore all the news about the economy.

Regardless of your beliefs it seems everyone, including me, is weighing every purchase, large or small, with more care.

The end goal in our careful purchasing analysis is to get the best product at the best price. To me, this is the real value of the product.

When it comes to all plants, the healthiness of the plant is the most important aspect. So how can we find the healthiest living plants at the best price and not be fooled into thinking we are getting a good deal?

Penny Wise, Dollar Foolish

A good example of “penny wise, dollar foolish” can be pointed to what happened this spring. This March, we experienced record breaking temperatures that created a false sense of spring.

As a result, many of us couldn’t resist our cabin fever and headed to the garden centers for that touch of spring. As anxious as many of us were, it was simply too early for many plants. However, the “Big Boxes” rushed orders to their growers and it was easy to find tomatoes, annuals and other spring plants in these stores much earlier than they should have been there.

So, we spent a nice chunk of change and loaded up our cars. The problem was, many of these plants had just arrived from growers in the south and had only spent a few days out of the greenhouse. We all know what happened next. The plants couldn’t start growing because of immature root systems or got frosted out. It was just too early to plant.

Sure, the “Big Box” will replace dead plants, but what about your time, effort and disappointment? I can’t tell you how many disappointed gardeners were back at our garden center this spring for Round 2 of vegetable gardening. It broke our hearts to turn you away in March, but we were so happy to see you again in May.

Pest Control

Another and even greater issue is that of pest control.

In the State of Illinois, virtually every county, (you and I, the taxpayers), spends millions of dollars annually in attempting to control the interstate transportation of pests. Many of us and our plants have suffered from foreign invaders such as Emerald Ash Borer and Japanese Beetles.

Both of these pests, as well as numerous others, have been introduced to our area from other regions of the country. The most common form of transportation is via nursery stock.

Locally Grown Plants

Not all plants can be obtained that are locally grown, but the next best thing is to buy from local nurseries that grow at least a portion of their own stock and buy the vast majority of remaining nursery stock from within our area.

Plants that are raised and grown locally are naturally adapted to our weather patterns, and any pests or diseases they may carry are more readily controlled with minimal use of pesticides. This protects our environment and allows you to nurture your plants with minimum or no chemicals. 

Locally grown plants also don’t have to travel far from growers to nurseries, so they don’t suffer from shock, drastically different light conditions or temperature variations.

At our nursery in Harvard we purposely grow our plants slowly so a comparably sized tree from another part of the country may be half the age and therefore much less hardy than one of our plants.

As a member of the “green” industry we are proud that our locally grown plant materials costs less in fuel, labor and energy to transport. We are also proud to employ and support our local economy from our nursery employees in Harvard, local truckers and, of course, the local employees at our Garden Center in Cary, IL.

Keeping your hard-earned money within our home community also helps in every way, and you may be getting tired of hearing it, but it’s worth repeating. Taking care of our home from the environment to the economy is part of maintaining what we all treasure.

Please consider for your next plant purchase. We are located at 8109 S Rt 31 in Cary, Il. Our website is www.BarnNurseryLandscape.com and our phone number is 847-658-3883. We are open from 9am-6pm Mon-Sat and 10-5 on Sundays.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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