NiftyNabber, I've never tried anything like that. But, I'm going to point out a few things that I suspect you already know... somewhere down deep in your heart... and, in the very back of your mind!
First, I am always very skeptical and leery of any company that wants to sell me a bill of goods or services, yet keeps me in the dark as much as possible about what my money is buying! I like to see the cow before I buy her!! And, you'd do well to be the same way! Otherwise, you could easily pay for a milk cow and end up getting a pig in a poke... or worse... a skunk in a box!!
Second, as you have already partially said, I doubt very seriously that their services will be tailored to your particular needs. Sure, they are probably generally
tailored to your vicinity. But, I'm sure that's the best you can hope for. I'd be very surprised to learn that they know about your blistering heatwave this year or the comfortable temps you had during last year's flood!
But, lets ass-u-me (notice the spelling... that's what happens when we assume
... makes an a$$ out of U and Me
) for a moment that they have done their homework! They know what happened to NiftyNabber last year. And, they know what happened to NiftyNabber this year. And, based on the history of past years they figure out that they need to send your tomato seeds the first of March. They include instructions that say that given your particular location you should start the seeds indoors on the 15th day of March so that you can transplant them outdoors on May 1.
While we're at it, let's ass-u-me that you are good at following directions. Therefore, you plant your tomato seeds the morning of March 15. You do everything exactly as you are supposed to, and you are rewarded with the most beautiful tomato plants you've ever seen... just right for transplanting into the garden on May 1!!! So, you transplant them into the garden on May 1... just before you leave for work. So far... so good.
You had to work late the evening of May 1. It's been a long, bad day. It's very late when you get home. And, you are pooped!! So, you swallow a bite of cold supper, watch a little bit of TV, get a quick shower, and hit the fart sack (for all you never-been-in-the-military people... that's a bed
The next morning, you wake up, and get yourself a cup of coffee. Right in the middle of the first sip, you think about your tomato plants. You run outside... still in your jammies... and head straight for your tomato plants. As you stand there looking at where you had set your tomato plants out, your tortured mind screams, "What the H*LL happened to my tomatoes?"
While you were at work, the evening news told of one final killing frost that would fall in your area. "Make sure you cover up any tender plants that you might have outside," they warned. But, you didn't hear that... you were at work!
Will the $60/year company have warned you that this would happen? I doubt it!!
Alright NiftyNabber... I can hear your thoughts... and, you haven't even read this yet!! "Well... the same thing could have happened even if the seeds and all hadn't come from the $60/year company!!!!" Or... at least something along those lines, right?
Well, this brings me to my fourth point. I don't care how good they are about having "personalized" information for you or for your area, $hit can happen!! And, trust me... it will... it's inevitable!!! There is not one good reason in this world as to why you can't do a little planning on your own, roll the dice (all of us gardeners do it every year), and take your chances with Mother Nature on your own! And, it don't cost you an additional
$60 per year!!
BTW, do you think the $60/year company will replace those beautiful tomato plants for you?? Me thinks not!!!
Do I understand correctly in that the $60 includes seeds for your 1500 square foot garden, plus
invaluable planting times and even more invaluable "shipping at the right time?"
If that is correct, it brings to mind a fifth point! I've got a garden that is roughly 4000 square feet... over 2 1/2 times the size of yours. And, I have NEVER
spent half that amount on seeds, plants, and bulbs to fill it up... even in the years when I didn't have one seed that I'd saved from the year before!!! And, you'd be paying that kind of price without knowing anything
about their seeds!!
I'm a bit of a gambling man. But, I don't like those stakes... or those odds!!!
Here's what I'd suggest to you...
One, talk to local gardeners... the ones who have been doing it a while. They can come closer to giving you accurate information about when to do what for your area than anyone other than God can!! A county agricultural extension agent is the next best thing! ... no extra $60!!
Two, peruse the internet! On the internet, there is more information about gardening whens, wheres, whys, how-tos, and such than what a dozen libraries can hold!! And, that doesn't count the millions of gardeners who belong to forums just like this one! Pick their brains!!! ... no extra $60!!
Three, once you have figured out what you want to plant and when it should be planted, do a little planning for next year's garden. You should always garden 3 years at a time... learn from last year's garden... work this year's garden... and plan next year's garden! For example, when you buy seeds that need to be planted early, don't wait until the last minute to try and find/order them. When you find them, buy enough to do you for 2 years! Plant the ones for the current year. Then put the others in the freezer for next year!! My grandfather taught me this one. I've seen him have great success with seeds that had been in the freezer for over 20 years!!! ... no extra $60!!
Four, take the $60 that you were thinking about giving that company, buy two years worth of seed (from a source you can trust) and the current year's fertilizer. Take the balance of the $60 and buy something for the garden... new rake... new hoe... new shovel... or, maybe 2 or 3 varieties of garlic that you've been wanting to try!! You might have to add a little bit of cash in order to get something... but, I'd bet it won't be much!!!
... no extra $60!!
Five, sit back next year and reflect on how right I was!! And, if you have a conscience attack, you can send me the $60 for this lengthy post!!! ... an extra $60... but, it would be worth it!!!