Many people don’t have the space or time to start plants from seed for their gardens, and therefore shop for seedlings they can plant directly in the ground. Beginning gardeners often wonder where to buy seedlings in Maine. The spring of 2020 offers different circumstances than normal because of the need to maintain physical distance from other people due to COVID-19. Therefore be sure to check online with the business where you plan to shop, to be sure you understand their hours and safety protocols. Many sites offer lists of available products online, so you can develop a shopping list or pre-order from home. These are some of the options:
Your local greenhouse, nursery, or garden center
If you are lucky enough to have a commercial greenhouse nearby, that’s a great place to start your search for seedlings. You’re likely to find separate areas dedicated to vegetable seedlings, and there will likely be many varieties to choose from for each type of plant. Many greenhouses have experienced staff who can offer advice.
Many farms are set up to start large quantities of seeds for their own production, and sell seedlings as well. Typically you might find these at a farm stand or store. This season, many farms are also offering pre-order options for pickup or even delivery. Check the website and social media pages of farms in your area. Expect to find more unusual varieties than you might find at your local garden center.
Farmers’ markets typically have vendors offering seedlings from early spring through June. At a farmers’ market you may find several farms offering seedlings, and may therefore have a particularly good selection of varieties and sizes. Farmers’ market vendors know which plants taste best, and tend to sell those as seedlings. (Click here to view Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets list of markets by day of the week.)
Local garden clubs, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and other organizations hold annual plant sales. These can be excellent places to purchase seedlings, as well as to buy perennial plants that are divisions from garden club members’ gardens. (Check local listings, as many of these will be on hiatus for the 2020 season.)
Large grocery stores often sell plants and seedlings. If they are locally sourced, that’s a good sign. Be extra careful to check the health of the plants, since retail staff may not have time to pay attention to plants.