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Count on Co-op for garden supplies, expertise

By Dawn Matlock, Home, Lawn, Specialty Product Manager 2/23/2017


Dawn Matlock, Home, Lawn, Specialty Product Manager
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Vegetable gardening has historically had its ups and downs. As far back as the pilgrims, nearly everybody was a gardener. Because people grew food to survive, they developed their own gardening skills out of necessity. During World War II, Americans were encouraged to grow much of their own food in “victory gardens” to help with the expensive war effort. But as more efficient methods of growing larger amounts of food were developed, fewer people raised their own vegetables.

There are several reasons you should consider growing a garden this year. Gardens bring the community together when vegetables are shared with friends and neighbors. They also look good growing in your yard when maintained properly. Children love to help in the garden and see the results of their efforts. Gardens provide “free food” for your family, saving you money at the grocery store. Additionally, many folks are adamant that fresh food tastes much better than store-bought. Gardening also adds nutrients and organic matter to soil, and tilling the soil allows air and moisture to penetrate easier.

For more than 40 years, Tennessee Farmers Cooperative has been packaging its own garden seed, and it remains a staple category for Co-op. Of course, the selection has changed over time as varieties have been introduced or phased out. We continually look for new varieties that fit our area.    

Different types of garden seeds are sold in Co-op stores today, including those pollinated by nature. They are the offspring of two plants of the same variety that have been pollinated. Heirloom seeds are a special classification of open-pollinated seeds that are more than 50 years old. These seeds were gathered in the fall, planted in the spring, and matured without human interference in the seed creation process. Hybrid seeds are those crossed by humans to express certain traits in the plants. While hybrids offer many interesting variations, they lack the usable seed for next year that heirlooms offer. GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds are those that have their DNA strands modified to insert specific traits. This allows companies to create seeds that are pest- and cold-resistant, produce higher yields, and enhance weed management.

Co-op garden seeds are packaged in different sizes depending on the grower’s need. The seed is brought in large quantities into the Halls Seed plant and packaged by machine or hand into smaller pack sizes for sale to Co-op customers. We strive to ensure all of our seeds are packaged with care. The new seeds are placed on order with vendors in July, and when they are harvested and ready to be shipped, they arrive at Halls.

For all your garden planning and needs, check with your local Co-op for availability and advice. The stores stock Co-op garden seeds, and knowledgeable personnel know all about the different varieties. Of course, Co-op sells other quality products like fertilizer, pesticides, and soil amendments to make your garden a success. We appreciate your continued support and remain committed to offering top-quality Co-op seeds for another 40 years.

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