Seed of a good idea takes root online
By Karen Bartomioli
March, 17, 2011
NORTH CANAAN — For gardeners, there is a fifth season. It is spent shopping and envisioning the summer’s bounty they will reap, their minds temporarily escaping the dead of winter.
Much of that shopping and dreaming used to be done with the aid of seed catalogues. But in this Internet-oriented world, much of the shopping is done online. To capitalize on this, about a year ago Jon Russell started The Online Greenhouse. The website features gardening and farming products produced in this area, from seeds, tools, soil, fertilizer and animal repellents to the Cow Pots produced at Freund’s Farm in East Canaan. All are made sustainably and/or organically.
He runs the business from his Canaan Valley home.
Russell recently added a seed catalog that can be ordered at the website.
“I wanted gardening advice to be a big part of the business, and it’s easier for customers to compare prices online,” Russell said of his decision to be electronic instead of paper-based. “But people said they missed having a catalog, even if they still order online. That’s how home gardeners do it.”
He should know. He was part of FFA and the agricultural education program at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, graduating in 2004. His father, George Russell, is a dairy farmer. At the University of Connecticut, Russell studied agriculture and took nearly all the agricultural business classes that were offered.
“I’ve always been headed toward some kind of agricultural career,” he said.
Russell is very aware of the conundrum of the desire to shop locally — but as economically as possible. He believes his website provides an answer as far as gardening supplies go.
It’s a happy melding of old and new, with an element of “green” added in.
The catalog will also feature helpful hints, which are called “green bits.”
There are many items that will help new gardeners get started that will also add extra layers of convenience for more experienced planters, including complete kits for starting, planting and feeding. Using products from the Northeast, and making them all available from one place, reduces the carbon footprint on both ends, he noted.
Russell said this is the year to start, with food prices expected to continue to rise to historic levels.
“There are so many reasons now to grow your own produce. People want to save money, and know where it comes from.”
To learn more, go to TheOnlineGreenhouse.com. Click on Request a Free 2011 Catalog.
© Copyright 2011 by TCExtra.com
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