The organic transplant sector is one most in need of professionialism and
expansion. There are just not many folks involved in doing it.
There are not offerings out there that growers have grown on spec. The plants
are sold before the seeds go in the medium.
There may be an exception to that.....
You may get some leads by contacting a certification outfit like CCOF, OCIA,
That's ccof.org, or ocia.org, on the www. Do a search on a search engine as
You will probably find that transplants are not just offered, they are
contracted. Months ahead of planting you contract with a certified transplant
grower to have them grow out the varieties you want. Sometimes they tell you
what they are planning to grow and do you want them? ( early girl, marengo,
roma vf, packman, gypsy bell, what have you) and you say yeah, sign me up for
10 flats of 288 count x, 30 flats of 288 y and 15 flats of z, and I want them
delivered on 15 March.
Then give me 40 flats of a on the 1st of June. Thats sort of how they do it.
Or you say, I have seeds of this or that hybrid variety which I want you to
grow, and you send them the seed. In any case you have to keep checking during
the 4-6 week growing period to see how things are going. Sometimes they may
call and say that fusarium or mildew has wiped them out. You may need a Plan
For many organic growers, Plan B is your own green house.
The contract growers will have minimum orders, like $250.00. Flats of 288
count may cost 12-15 dollars sometimes more, depending on varieties. Remember
there is shipping involved.
You can also order in flats of 98 all the way to 400 count. You know how small
the 400s are, so you will have to bump them up to 288s or 220s before you
plant them. This you can do in a big hoop coldframe, as long as it isn"t going
to get too cold. You can put together a cheap plastic covered cold frame for
Get ahold of a greenhouse supply catalogue. Also, subscribe to the Greenhouse
Manager or another journal. They are almost full-chem, but it gives youi an
idea of the trade. And the equipment.
Speedling and other companies on the west coast are doing contract growing for
large organicgrowers, but they may not want to do business with small growers.
I have never tried. Talked to them, but its small potatoes against a brick
If you can convince a local greenhouse to do it, they don't have to be
certified sometimes ( check your cert agency, or the state law). BUT they
still have to sequester the plants. And follow the organic materials
standards.Like dedicating a whole greenhouse to the operation since they fog
the houses with systemics frequently, or grow them side by side with florals
that can take chemicals that are not registered for vegetables. Greenhouses
are not fun environments. Unless its an organic greenhouse.
The fertilizer is the biggest hurdle ( and diseases), since most houses
fertigate. NPK in solution. Overhead in the pipes. Run by computer. You have
to switch out to fish emulsion, which may have to be custom applied since the
emulsions plug the orifices in the overheads.
The onion deal, the sweet potato deal are obscure, but also out there. Hit or
miss. Lonely growers in Carrizo Springs Texas or Parthenon, Arkansas, doing
their smalltime little gig in anonymity. They dont advertise. It depends on
who you know.
There are organic herbs offered on spec. Perennials usually.
Become an organic transplant grower.
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