Can't believe that Lowes is still selling warm season plants

wertach zone 7-B SCAugust 26, 2011

I stopped in my local Lowes today to pick up a few things, not garden related. I had to go through the garden plant section, habit.

It is August 26 and they have nice, and very expensive, peppers, tomatoes, ETC. sitting on the shelf for sale, way too late to get a crop here. Several people were actually putting them in their carts! First frost date here is Oct. 17.

I couldn't resist asking them if they knew they were wasting their money. An older woman, with a northern accent, spoke up and said, " It is still hot enough for them and Lowes wouldn't be selling them if it is too late!"

I politely said OK, I wish you the best and moved on. I noticed an older guy, he was looking at the cabbage, smiling at me as I walked away. He just said "city slickers" and laughed.

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Same here, tho some who cover their plants will get some tomatoes still... Last year Walmart and Lowes had packed up all the seed in May - I went looking for okra seed in June and no seeds to be found except at a hardware store. This year the big boxes are selling everything year round it seems. Oh well, buyer beware...

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 2:41PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Same here. Not like buying in the small garden centers. They are usually not out to make a quick buck by being deceptive. I've learned to buy seeds when I see them and save them for when I need them.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 3:18PM
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I have the exact opposite problem, All the big box stores packed up just about everything, including the seeds. Hard to start my first fall garden with no seeds.

I don't think it is deceptive simply having out of season merchandise on the shelf, and to them plants are just merchandise. And to be honest, the folks that work there probably don't care to know either.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 4:13PM
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why would they miss out on an opportunity to spread a little more blight??

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 4:22PM
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Dan Staley

I can totally believe they are selling inappropriate plants at the inappropriate time.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 6:40PM
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People will ask for it...seriously. You can even tell them it's not a good idea and they'll want it.

The nursery business caters to weird customer wants because there's actual money to it.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:00PM
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Conquering nature is a very common thing in a lot of new gardeners...even ones at it for a few years.

A lot don't realize they're trying to do it, but there's a lot of people out there that believe they'll be lucky, they can apply something to the plant, or they have a method for extra care that will make their badly timed/placed planting work out for them.

Unfortunately, this can lead to discouraged gardeners who don't realize their approach is incorrect and they can do it if they do it right.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:03PM
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Ironic, since they start selling garden mums here in mid July. What's even worse, people buy them and think they'll still be blooming in October. They last about a week in the midsummer heat, and most of them no longer survive the winters here, due to breeding with subtropical species.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:28PM
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Love the comment about "if they carry it, it must be ok"! Similar thing happens in Saskatchewan every spring, but the other way around. They sell spinach, broccoli and pak choi(???) transplants only starting the third week of May, and inevitably, they all bolt even in our cool summers. I spoke to some people who said they would never plant this stuff before mid-May because there must be a reason why they are never sold before mid-May. But yes there is! Profit!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 12:02AM
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The thing is they're not trying to fool people, but some people do end up being fooled into thinking those plants are okay because they're in stock and usually thrown up in displays with more seasonally valid plants. It's a double-edged sword.

If the garden center/nursery/box store/etc. doesn't have what the customer wants they can go elsewhere. During the transition months between seasons selections can get especially sketchy. People do want/demand these plants at non-ideal times, though. They want to put them in early or try to put them in late. Sometimes they've lost their original plants and sometimes they're just wishful thinking, but there's more than just a small amount of these people.

The whole situation is weirdly frustrating for plant producers, distributors, and retail outlets.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 12:07AM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Not quite the same thing, but the garden center here told me that to get a good selection of warm-weather veggies before they're sold out, I'd have to come in a few weeks before the last frost and maintain the plants on a windowsill. Why not just start everything from seed if I can't buy it at the right time for planting?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 8:28AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I have a couple water gardens, and I've noticed at big box stores they are still selling the same boxed water lilies that they put on the shelves last April! They weren't in good shape last April either. There's a sucker born every minute!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 10:19AM
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Y'know what might have happened...
About a month ago was the time to put in the fall crop here
(according to the Clemson extension site, below).

I remember going into the big box stores to ask who had them,
back when I was a newly-transplanted Northerner.
Maybe some fool ordered them in back then.

Anyway, we put in our fall crop about a month ago
and they're doing great, since it's been a long hot summer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clemson Tomato Info

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 1:29PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

well - this city slicker knows better....although I may be planting a grape tomato soon to experiment with various late season techniques.....

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 1:42PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

ExNJer What part of SC do you live in? Clemson say's July 10-20 for the Piedmont area, up to July 30 for the coastal area, so a month ago would have been fine!

I live in the Piedmont area and it seems the nighttime temps cool down really fast. I think it is because of the mountains. We've had 90's during the day and low 60's at night for a week or so.

Here is a link that might be useful: Here is the full guide from Clemson

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 1:58PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I worked in a garden center in the early 80's in Pa. We always got our plants in a few weeks before the last predicted frost. We told all our customers that they ran the risk of losing their plants if they planted early. I think they all bought them anyway. One year we did get the frost and it killed all the plants we had sold. Our customers were wery thankful that we were honest with them and rebought all their plants from us! Down here all the stores sell strawberries in the spring when they are supposed to be planted in the fall.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 2:48PM
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Hiya, Wertach!

I'm in Columbia, so technically we planted them a couple of weeks late.
...But it doesn't look like it's going to be a problem.

Our determinant tomatoes from the spring crop are fading badly (and getting yanked),
so it's great to see the healthy fall plants growing rapidly.

And since we're expatriate NJers, we planted the fall plants near each other.
They'll be easy to cover, should we get an at-this-point-much-welcome brisk spell.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 7:04PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Hi ExNJer, Welcome to SC!

You should be just fine since you are near Columbia, all that concrete and asphalt down there stores heat for months! ;)

I'm about 17 miles south of Greenville and I usually get a frost before they do! I work in Greenville and I will be chilly at home, so I put on a jacket, I get to work and I have to take it off!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 1:09PM
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