Edible landscapes, food forests, simple gardens…whatever your endeavor, Orlando has great resources to get you started, answer your questions and keep you motivated when you burn your first crops! During a recent trip around the city, I visited three local nurseries. My goal was to see how their prices stacked up to the nearby big-box locations, what kind of pointers I could get and what variety was available to me. Here’s what I found!
Palmer’s Garden & Goods was my first stop. Immediately I was greeted by two three-tiered stands filled with 4” potted veggies and herbs with additional larger plants on tables and the ground surrounding them. There was more than enough to get started with my garden. I spent several minutes wandering through the rest of the nursery to see that the variety was far superior to anything I have ever seen at any big box location and the prices were surprisingly the same or maybe a little less. The selection of pots and outdoor decor could have kept me entertained for an hour but I got sidetracked by the inside of the shop…so stinking cute! I was able to chat with three different employees and all were not only helpful and engaging but very willing to answer my newbie questions! I will, without a doubt, be returning very soon to this lovely nursery and next time I am bringing my van!
Purchased at Palmer’s: 6 pack of string bush bean ($3.99 for the pack)
Apenberry’s Gardens was next on the list. At first glance, this was a smaller nursery than the first, but what they did have was a larger selection of trees and most things were elevated on tables making them so easy to look at and touch. However, I was there for the veggies! I found a small selection but when I talked with one of the incredibly delightful gals, she explained that I was a little early in my quest and they would have many more in the upcoming weeks. I did find a couple of things that were not at my first stop and once I wandered inside I found a second gal who was easily as sweet and helpful as the first. She was so informative about how and when to plant certain crops and I even learned that I was planting tomato plants wrong! I am so glad I stopped at this nursery and I will be watching for the rest of their crops to come in. Maybe next time I will take home a bag of the live ladybugs they have at the register!
Purchased at Apenberry’s: 4” Hot Pepper ($2.99), 4” Tomato ($2.75), Carrot Seed Pack ($1.79)
Lukas Nursery was my final stop of the day. By far the largest nursery on the list giving it the upper-hand on selection. However, they don’t have much of their space devoted to veggies and herbs. That could be due to timing since I am a little ahead of schedule in the growing season. There were several employees working around that I am sure would have been willing to answer questions for me but none came up and I was on a mission to find something different! And I did! Sunflowers were the catch at Lukas. Once I worked my way inside to pay, I found a couple of ladies who gave me as much information as they could on planting sunflowers but left me with a few questions. Luckily, there is the internet and I am sure I will find what I need to know there. Lukas is a great nursery if you have experience working outside in your yard. The selection is just absolutely incredible when it comes to trees, shrubs, and flowers. Hopefully, as the season progresses their selection of veggies will match!
Purchased at Lukas: 6 pack of sunflowers ($3.78 for the pack)
All in all, I was able to answer my three original questions; Prices at local nurseries are the same or lower in some cases than big box lands. Local nursery staff is so incredibly knowledgeable and much more helpful than the people in national chains (I once had a fella tell me he didn’t really know much about plants…and he worked in the garden center). Finally, variety is far superior in the local nurseries and when the season is here selections will be as well.