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Apr 28, 2014 07:31 AM

Any hidden gems for culinary gardening?

I'm curious if anyone's got any places they seek out for buying herbs and vegetable plants around here. I'm interested in both interesting, varied selections and value.

For example, Ricky's in Union Sq Somerville sells lots of vegetable seedlings in 6pks for just a couple bucks (as opposed to something like $3 each in pint containers at Home Depot, etc). They also have parsley similarly priced parsley, so you can get 6/$2-3.

Normally we just do everything from seed, but we ran out of time this spring.

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  1. For the last few years, I've been getting my tomato and herb plants at Ferraras Greenhouse in Hyde Park. It's a family run business that's been located in a residential/conservation area for years. I use to buy my tomato plants from Herb Lyceum for few years and each year, they would develop a white fly problem. The flies looked like tiny pieces of lint. A friend told me about Ferraras, and their tomato plants have been healthy every year since I switched to them. I live in a hi-rise and put them out on the balcony, so I don't think it's likely they were exposed to those flies after I bought them. I'll be going to Ferraras in the next few weeks for this season's plants. Very helpful and friendly people too.

    4 Replies
    1. re: catsmeow

      I've toured the greenhouses at the Herb Lyceum, and let's just say that your issues with whiteflies coming from their stock are not a surprise.

      1. re: loper

        They are selling a terrible plant. I spent more time and $$$ trying to get rid of them.

        1. re: loper

          wow. I thought they had such a great reputation. Thanks for the information.

        2. re: catsmeow

          I also buy herbs and flowers at Ferrara's. Reasonable prices and very helpful people (especially the woman) makes me happy to support a small local business.

        3. Ricky's has nice stuff and I've shopped there for flowers myself.

          For herbs and lettuce seedlings we usually go to Russo's. which has a nice selection of reasonably-priced plants. Around Memorial day we go to Russell's Garden Center in Wayland for larger plants - we grow in containers, so we usually get just one tomato plant, a couple of peppers and a couple of cucumbers. They have a mind-boggling selection! Their prices are not really cheap but seem reasonable for good healthy plants in varieties that are harder to find.

          1. Russo's has some. Lyceum Herb farm comes to some farmers markets with seedlings.

            But I'm always trying to find sorrel, lovage, lemon balm, citrus and purple basils, etc. Please post if you find any!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Madrid

              You'll find all of those and more at Russell's Garden Center in Wayland.

              1. re: Madrid

                Mahoney's in Winchester has a great variety in high season. I was there two weeks ago and the pickings were slim, they did have sorrel and a few other less common things though.

                1. re: soylent_greens

                  Second on Mahoney's -- we went about 3 weeks ago and got sorrel, purple basil and lemon balm.

              2. oh, and Verrill Farm has seedlings as well, with a great heirloom tomato collection.

                1. I usually go to Russo's and Wilson Farm.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: bear

                    After heading to Russell Garden Center in Wayland thanks to Allstonian and Jenny, I will definitely head there first from now on. They have a huge selection and the plants look really healthy.

                    1. re: bear

                      Today's haul from Russell's included poblano, ancho, bush cucumber and black cherry tomato plants, plus a variety of herbs.

                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                        I remembered your post and searched out the black cherry tomato plants when I was at Russell's today. Two of those will go into an Earth Box tomorrow. Russell's is definitely the best.

                        1. re: black_lab

                          Wish I had passed on the yellow grapes and gone with the black cherries. Oh, well, there's always next year. I've over-planted as it is.

                          1. re: black_lab

                            Be warned: Black Cherry is an indeterminate variety. The plant gets really gangly!

                            On the other hand, we harvested right up until frost, then picked all the remaining green tomatoes and wrapped them in newspaper to ripen, and we ate the last of them the night before Thanksgiving.

                            1. re: Allstonian

                              You were sure right about this variety. Still wave after wave of tomatoes coming off these plants. This variety produces some complex tasting flavor bombs.

                              1. re: black_lab

                                Glad you're enjoying them! Our one plant is still going strong as well.