Being that I’m not a mainstream nursery and I like to do things a little differently perhaps, I thought you’d like to know how I go about things to bring you your beautiful strong plants.
Stoney Ground Herbs is a non certified organic herb nursery. I’m providing plants for people, health and the environment and my growing practices reflect that – not just the end product but the whole process.
In my garden I have what I call my Mother Herbs. These are plants that I’ve had for a good while and whom I go to when I want to make divisions or cuttings. If I can propagate from plant material I will do this rather than grow from seed. My garden is all organic, the only spray I use is seaweed spray.
I take my hard wood cuttings in autumn pushing winter as well as rooted divisions, particularly if the plant goes dormant during winter (eg. French tarragon and Echinacea). In spring I take more rooted divisions and start sowing my seeds. I start sowing in August, using my hot water cupboard (go here to read about me trying to be more professional!) and moving them onto my glasshouse or window sill as soon as they rear their heads. I continue sowing until October, later if I have particular orders. Some herbs get sown end of summer-early autumn, and I start pegging down herbs like lemon thyme at this time too.
I make my own potting mix using coconut coir, organic compost and fine pumice (from Natural Bark and Compost) with a dollop of worm castings. When making a mix for cuttings I put more pumice in and less compost, in some cases it’s all pumice. I haven’t yet gone into making my own seed raising mix, I usually use Daltons Organic Seed Raising Mix, sometimes Tui Organic Seed Raising Mix.
Just about all my plants come in 9cm plastic pots. I use pre-used pots as much as I can, sourced from recycling centers or generously given to me (that’s why you will often see “potted colour” labels on the side of my pots!). I wash them all in hot soapy water and dry in the sun, I don’t use bleach. Sometimes I do need to buy in pots due to shortages. Do re-use your pots and/or feel free to return them to me!
All but one of my tomato varieties are heirlooms (Vintage Wine is open pollinated). I like to try two new varieties a year so there will seeds that I have bought in but for the most part my tomatoes are grown from seed that I have saved myself (again, grown organically and out of doors). Although I’d love you to always buy your tomato seedlings from me I totally encourage you to save your own seeds too.
My herb labels are printed on card and attached (by blu-tac) to a strip of plastic cut from milk bottles. My theory is that I’m re-purposing milk bottles and making it easy for you to stick the label in your gardening diary (or burn or recycle them in turn). the labels for my tomatoes are made from (usually) poplar sticks sustainably harvested from our property.
Special Note on White Sage;
I get asked a lot if I sell the seed of white sage (Salvia apiana) and I do not. Reasons being that the seeds have an inherently low germination rate, so 1) I need all that I have to fufil the demand for white sage plants and 2) I don’t want you coming back to me saying only two of your seeds germinated…and then died with transplant shock! White sage is one of most sought after plants, when I’m out of stock I will ask if you’d like to go on my “White sage email list” . This is so I can tell you when the plants are ready plus any other information I feel is relevant. There is a cap of 4 plants per customer.