The High Cost of Sub-Urban Homesteading

 

Am I imagining it or are edible plants at the nurseries going way up in price due to the increased popularity of backyard food gardening, sustainability, and homesteading? I was running errands this morning, and one of them took me past a Garden Center; it’s a chain, but I won’t name names.  I love browsing at new plant selections and I am in process of helping a friend with a backyard garden design that includes some fruit trees, so I decided to stop inside for a few minutes to have a look around.  It was sticker shock as I cruised through the fruit tree and berry section.  Okay, so I am no longer a spring chicken, I have been doing this homestead/ edible landscaping thing for a decade and a half, and pretty frugal, but the prices for edible plants at that nursery seemed ridiculous for what they were selling.

The fruit trees, the kind with about a 1/2 inch caliper started at $34.99, some were more than that.  Uggh! The plants were obviously this winter’s bare root trees and berries that had just been dug out of the fields and popped into nursery cans in the last month or so.  The tiny one cane berry plants, with maybe a pint and a half of soil, practically bare root, were $12.99.  It seems like just two years ago, the same berry plant varieties were $6 to $7 in one gallon at this same nursery.  I could understand if these were new introductions with patents on them, but most weren’t.  The berries included Boysen, Triple Crown, Fall Gold, Williamette, and Canby, all varieties that have been around for ever and can found at a just about any nursery.  The high prices were on fruit trees that have been planted in SoCal backyards for decades like Anna and Dorset Golden apples, stone fruits like Santa Rosa and Babcock Peach, and grapes that don’t grow well around here, like Thompson Seedless.  A one gallon pomegranate was $44.  A one gallon goji was $35! Those things grow like weeds! I started with one small goji berry twig of a thing and it grew to one gallon size within a few months.  Why such a crazy high price for a goji?..maybe because a gardener must be crazy to plant such an invasive plant in the ground that spreads like mint?  I don’t know.  However, I sure got the impression they were trying to price gouge novice gardeners just starting a homestead.  Is it like this everywhere recently, and I am just stuck in the past remembering the “good ole days,” or are prices for edible landscaping plants suddenly skyrocketing?

Sorry for the rant.  I’ll go back to gardening now.

wolf berry, goji.

Goji Berry tucked away in the vegetable garden. I keep it in a pot because it is super invasive. I don’t recommend planting this anywhere that you don’t want to spread everywhere.  Apparently, according to one local nursery, this thing is worth it weight in gold.

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