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2009 “Get It Garden” Challenge – the Bonnie Vegetable Nursery Tour

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Welcome to the 2009 Casual Gardener “Get It Garden” Challenge!! The challenge: create a garden that makes a difference in your life and your community, then share it with The Casual Gardener readers.

Plants nursery
Plants nursery

Early this morning I drove out to Ottawa, Illinois to tour the Bonnie Plants nursery. It was quite a drive and as I rode along with the sun roof open and the music on I thought about how cool it was for a gardener like me to see several thousand vegetable plants all growing together in a nursery.

Plants nursery

Bonnie and Livingston Paulk started Bonnie’s plants in 1918 and the organization has grown to include greenhouse locations in 38 states. Jeff Sutton, the nursery station manager, met me and gave a wonderful tour around the nursery buildings. Dozens of people bustled about the delivery area since this is the prime shipping season, and I soaked up all the action. Happily, I took home several flats of veggies for the garden. Broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, and lots of herbs – greek oregano, lavender, rosemary, and thyme. See my car full of Bonnie’s plants in the photo at the top of the page. The smell was incredibly delicious all the way home.

Remember that most nursery plants are grown in a medium which is not the same as potting soil and must be watered often before you install in the garden. Keep your plants in indirect light and get them in the ground as soon as possible.

All the wonderful veggies I got today (see photo above) will hopefully go in the ground this week. Lots of fantastic photos are coming in from readers also – thanks and keep’em coming! I will be sure to post them for you this week so you can see the progress on the “Get It Garden” Challenge.

Remember, as you follow along and build your garden, please send  photos and details to me, Shawna Coronado, and I will post your successes – and your failures – so we can all learn how to make a difference with a garden. Please send anything you can – what do you do with all the vegetables you harvest for instance? Will you sell them for additional family income? Will you give them away to local food banks? My readers want to know ALL the details.

Let’s build a garden together! Please join the 2009 Casual Gardener “Get It Garden” Challenge today and help make a difference for yourself and your community.

Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community!

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  1. We get Bonnie veggies here at Walmart. I’ve planted plenty of them over the years and they always do great! I love their pots that you can just put right into the ground when you plant.

  2. Kylee – you would have loved their facility. Nothing fancy, but amazing to see literally MILLIONS of plants growing.

    How’s your garden this year? Send me some pics!

    Take care,


  3. The flower gardens are lush and green and working their way towards jungle-like conditions! The veggie garden is just getting started, but I have carrots, spinach, beets, strawberries (okay, that’s a fruit), onions, and tomatoes are about where they should be right now, which is not far. The corn is in the ground, but not up yet. The beans aren’t planted yet, but hopefully soon!

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