Sunday, March 27, 2011


The past few weeks I've driven down the county road on my way to the Farmer's Market the next town over. On my way there's a little hand written sign advertising Tomato Plants U-Pull.

U-PULL? I have never heard of such a thing. And each week I drove by curious but restrained from driving my van chock full of kids down some lonely dirt road just to see what I'd find.

Yesterday, I checked the Farm section of Craigslist and found the U-Pull tomato guy's ad. According to it, the plants were .10 a piece, you hand pull from the ground. With the garden mulched and the man taking a break from fencing the garden for lunch, I decided to take a trip over by myself to see what it was all about. Even if I only got ten plants I'd be beating my current price of .50 a seedling over the head with a shovel.

I now wished I had taken photos but to be honest the lonely dirt road then lead me to a large property with various trailers and buildings in disrepair, rusted out trucks, sun crisp fields of grapes and a little patch of PVC skirted earth crowded out with thousands of seedlings. There was no one around and according to other various hand written signs the plant pulling worked on an honor system. A little handmade lock box with a slot was designated for payment and a warning not to dig the plants "hand pull only". A table set up with a bucket of water and newspapers under a brick served as a processing point for keeping moist the freshly pulled roots.

Chickens squaked but I couldn't see them. Dogs barked from inside various buildings. No one was around and I expected to hear banjo music at any moment. I kept the car doors open and keys in my pocket.

The delivery was poor but the concept was genious.

All it would take would be a lay out of pvc to denote the different types of plants and a few seed packets or left overs from planting. It was heavily seeded, overcrowding was prominent but I was able to hand pick the plants I wanted, carefully extracting them from the soil.

I ended up with two hundred plants that have been transplanted into my garden. As of this morning they have almost all (save maybe 5-8) perked up. I got radish, broccoli, tomato, kale, zucchini and carrots (not holding out on the carrots since they don't like to be transplanted, I only got 10). They had many other varieties like mustards, hot peppers, other types of tomato and collards.

This might be an interesting venture to make a little money on the side with very little work. And a good lesson on following curious signs.


  1. Love it! I especially like the line about keeping your car doors open and your keys in your pocket.

    I'm not sure you could pull even tiny seedlings from the sticky Missouri clay we have around here with your bare hands! Certainly not once it's dry.

    Our frost-free date is coming up in about three weeks. My dad is getting some raised beds together for asparagus and we've started seedlings indoors, but nothing can really go out in the garden until April 15th!

  2. I think it's fabulous, Crystal. You must have thought you were in seedling heaven! Too funny. I can't wait till I can take a trip out there.


  3. How cool is that?! Thanks for being brave for the rest of us!

  4. I went there last year and got 10 tomatos and 10 pepper plants. It was exactly how you described and a hoot. The plants did great but I dont think I will be visiting again this year.;0)

  5. That's a great post! I will have to make a drive to see this. :)