Burgess.com Continues To Fail The Customer

As noted in several previous posts, I made a $100+ purchase from eburgess.com, Burgess’s website. The plants all arrived very late in the season and thus were in bad shape and almost all died. I contacted Burgess and told them of the problem. They sent me replacement plants, but as noted in previous plants, these plants were the left overs in the fall greenhouse. I specifically told them to wait until next spring to send my replacement plants and no substitutions of plants. What did they do, they sent another batch of poor quality plants that fall. The ones that weren’t dead soon died. They also substituted some plants. I have the plant labels to show the plants I received that weren’t on the invoice. The representative I talked to on the phone told me there were no substitutions noted on my order – I told her some plants were substituted and I have the un-ordered plant labels to prove it. She was literally arguing with me! Bad customer service. I really wanted those chestnut trees – that’s why I purchased them!

Since Burgess sent dead and dying plants to replace the first order of dead and dying plants, I had to contact them again.

burgess does NOT stand by their plants - shop elsewhere

I used their website customer contact form. I did receive a reply a few days later telling me to mail my shipping label to them. I did mail the label back and again contacted them by email. I was told that I would receive a reply about the label within 2 weeks. I have NEVER heard back and have contacted them numerous times.

Yesterday I received another Burgess catalog in the mail. I immediately threw it in the trash.

AVOID BURGESS. AVOID BURGESS! If they send you dead and dying plants, they will NOT replace them. They sent me dead and dying plants and then replaced them with dead and dying plants.  They took me for over $100.



Squash Issues – Yellowing Leaves on Some Plants

In one of my raised beds, I have some squash plants – both summer yellow and zucchini – that are turning yellow.   In the neighboring bed some of the late planted squash appears to be stunted.  This is affecting the older leaves first.  The edges turn yellow and the leaf surface is splotched with yellow areas.  (This year I am growing some of my summer squash – both yellow and zucchini – in tomato cages to see if I can get a better control over the plants that would otherwise sprawl all over.)

The little squash plant to the front left of this caged plant appears to be stunted.  The plant to the back, right of the center caged plant is OK.  The problem plants are intermixed with plants that are just fine and looking good.  This is a pointer to mosaic virus as opposed to a nutrient deficiency.  I have a hard time thinking that a nutrient deficiency would only affect intermittent plants when the soil was turned over and mixed before planting.
summer squash leaves are yellowing

And a closeup:  The younger leaves are OK so far.
summer squash leaves are yellowing

After spending hours searching for an answer, the 2 most promising answers are either a nutrient deficiency or a mosaic virus.

Below is a broader view.  Some of the plants are affected while others aren’t.  To add more confusion, I only made note of the varieties that I originally planted, not the subsequent 3 re-seedings that I had to do because of poor germination.  (I don’t know why the seeds did not germinate well, the original planting was 2 year old professional seed that has been stored in the refrigerator.)  The 2 original varieties were Superpik yellow and Obsidian zucchini, both on the Cucumber Mosaic Virus Resistant list at Cornell’s Squash resistance lists.

What is affecting my squash does not look exactly like any mosaic virus images I found, neither does it look exactly like Zinc deficiency, although it does look a wee bit more like the zinc deficient images.  It could also be magnesium or manganese deficiency.

So what to do?  I am not ready to pull the plants because I don’t know for sure if it is a mosaic virus.  I am going to water the squash with a handful of Epsom salt in the water.  Maybe I can crush a few zinc vitamin pills and add it to the magnesium sulfate mix.
summer squash leaves are yellowing

Oh what to do?  I have squished a few squash bugs and scraped numerous batches of eggs off of the leaves.  My research has revealed that aphids and cucumber beetles are the culprits that transmit mosaic viruses, not squash bugs, although squash bugs are blamed for transmission of some plant diseases.  No clear answer.

Propagating Rosemary

I like my large 2 1/2′ to 3′ rosemary plants in large clay pots on the patio.  I purchased my last few rosemary plants from the produce section of a grocery store at $2.99 or so each.  This is too expensive to keep doing, so I decided to try to grow my own rosemary plants from cuttings because I realized this is how nursery rosemary plats are grown – from cuttings not from seeds.   I do have a packet of rosemary seeds and intend to sprout them at some point in the future.

I took several 3-4″ cuttings from the ends of woody branches.  I cut the stem at an angle, dipped the cut end in rooting hormone and put them in water.  In less than a week roots were growing on the cut ends.  I then planted the rooted cuttings in potting soil.

The cuttings in water.
rosemary cuttings in water

Within a week or so, the cuttings have grown roots.

roots on rosemary cuttings

The rooted rosemary cuttings in potting soil.
rooted rosemary cuttings

That was fun.  Looking for something else to try to propagate.  Looking forward to see how fast these cuttings grow.

Burgess Seed & Plant Co Disappoints Me, Continued

In a previous post I have described how terrible my experience with Burgess Seed & Plant Co has been.

As I noted, I told them on the phone to NOT send the replacement plants in the Fall because I didn’t want left over junk that sat in the greenhouse all summer AND the plants would not survive out long summer.  That is exactly what happened, they send the replacement plants in the Fall.  The plants were already dormant and re-bloomed in the Fall only to die when the cold weather got here.

burgess plant company dead plants

This is a closeup of dead boysenberries.  The yellow circle marks the rotted stem at soil level.  This is a clear indication that the Burgess plant is dead.

Some of Burgess’ plants sprouted out after arrival in our hot fall weather, some never leafed out – neither in the fall nor the next spring.

more dead burgess plants

As previously posted, this is my Burgess replacement shipment.  I later found out that the 3 raspberries, the big bunch of dried out bare roots in the front center, must always keep their roots moist.  Huh?  Burgess threw them bare rooted in the bag with nothing to keep them moist.  Those 3 green trees are dying Colorado Blue Spruce.  They were browning and dropping needles when they arrived.  Look at all those dried, bare roots.  They didn’t make it.

burgess vs gurneys shipping practices

For a comparison, all of my Gurneys plants were individually, carefully and very nicely wrapped.  I was impressed.  All most all of their plants survived.

burgess vs gurneys plant web sites

This is my Burgess replacement plant mailing label.  Of all these plants, only 1 pecan tree and the Tophat blueberry survived!  I noted no substitutions, but they substituted the dead chestnut trees with some kind of ornamental cherry, both of which also died after they bloomed out in the fall.

Burgess turned out to be a $100 money pit for me.  A $100 of plants delivered too late, were of poor quality and died.  The one-time guarantee replacement was sent, against my request, in the fall and re-sprouted thinking my hot fall was spring – since they were dormant when arrived.  My experience with Burgess was a total disaster.

mail label for dead on arrival burgess plant order

Next Spring, my purchased plants will be from Gurneys.

I Always Thought Strawberries Were Hard To Grow, I Was Wrong

Last year I bought a dozen Ozark ever-bearing strawberry plants from Gurneys.  They put out babies and I now have strawberries all over, even growing in the dirt around the door to my greenhouse where I had some of these pots sitting when trying to find a place for them.

My original plants didn’t produce well the first year, but this second year they are turning out the berries.  Strawberry plants should live for about 5 to 6 years, but start to decline after about 3 years.  My plants are ever bearing, so after a summer break, I can expect another crop in the fall.

I planted most of the strawberry plants in 10″ hanging pots, but set the pots in this bed for a while.  The plants sent out runners and the ones that rooted over-ran this bed.  I wish that I had mulched it better – I need to add something, maybe chopped leaves to keep the berries off of the ground.

strawberry bed

I am surprised how strong and hardy these plants are.  We have mild winters in east Texas, having had only a few nights of mid to upper 20 degree weather and only a few 30 degree days.  These plants handled it just fine.  The crown is constantly putting out new leaves.

The easiest way to grow strawberries is in hanging pots.  The fruit cleanly hangs from the sides and does not rot on the ground.  Easy to harvest also.  A 10″ pot is sufficient for one strawberry plant.

strawberries hand from hanging pot

My problem now is to weld up some rebar into hanging pot stands, enough to handle about 3 dozen hanging pots.

Don’t allow too many runners to grow from the plants – most sources seem to say that 3 runners are sufficient, although no one discusses how many plants to allow per runner.  The runners produce at least 3 to 4 plants each.  The runners take plant energy from fruit production, but I want some runners so that I can have more plants.

When you plant a strawberry plant, be aware that the crown is the heart of the plant – the crown should be half buried in the dirt.  If you totally bury the crown, it could rot.  They like full sun and slightly acidic soil – pH of 5.5 to 6.8.

I temporarily have about 2 dozen handing baskets on several bent cattle panels – this one is on the panel that I grow my yard long green beans and Chinese long red beans, so I will have to move them in a month or so.  I am just going to let the strawberry plants in the bed stay there.  Wood sorrel has been sprouting all over my place – it is the lighter green leaves in the front end of this bed.  Going to pull it and get the beans planted.

strawberry bed under beans

Strawberries are a delightful plant to grow in your garden.

Goji Berry Is Very Easy To Root

I discovered this by accident.  I have a 3 year old Goji Berry (also called Wolf Berry) that is ready to go into the ground this spring, if I can find the proper location.

3 year old goji berry

It is a 3 foot tall, bushy plant with soft, thin branches that easily snap.  I accidentally snapped off one while moving the plant and decided to put in a small container filled with perilite and a dash of vermiculite.  I checked it a week later and to my surprise it had several short, translucent white roots growing from the bottom inch!

I went ahead and put it in potting soil.

Seeing this success, I snapped off a few more branches that were too low on the plant – they would be laying on the ground if I was to plant my potted goji berry in the ground.

goji berry cuttings

If these 3 cuttings also root, I am going to try a lot more, cutting all of the lowest branches that would be laying on the ground when I plant this 3 year old in the ground.  I am very excited.  Goji berry are always rather pricy in nursery plant catalogs.

The soil is acidic and red clay where I live.  Goji berry need alkaline soil (pH of 6.8 or higher), so I am going to have to dig a large hole, about 2 feet deep and 2 foot diameter and fill it with peat and organic matter when I plant this 3 yr old.  I will probably have to lime it annually.  This plant has cute little lavender flowers in the spring.  One of these years, when this plant matures, those flowers will result in red berries in the fall.  Goji berry plants grow up to 10 feet high at maturity.  They are sort of like a weeping willow bush in growth pattern.  Mine is only 3 feet tall, but instructions generally say to prune it back to 5 feet when it grows to 10 feet.  This is supposed to produce a greater harvest.  They are self fertile and drought resistant.  Finally, they grow in partial to full sun.  Full sun is defined as at least 6 hours of full sun a day.

I’m Still Extremely Upset With Burgess Seed & Plant Co.

As spring marches in, I am seeing more of the poor, sorry plants that Burgess sent me.

This picture shows my 3 dead Colorado Blue Spruces, shriveled up brown dead lavender and the poplar trees that leafed out as soon as the replacement order reached me last fall, only to have the leaves soon die.  I know for sure that the poplar trees, cherry trees and spruces are dead – the cherry & poplar trees currently have raised spots of rot at the base of the stem.  The Lilly of the Valley have never displayed any sign of life.  I believe they are dead on arrival.

burgess dead on arrival replacement plants that are replacing the original dead on arrival plants

Time will tell whether the pecan tree, hazlenuts, paw paw trees, honeysuckle, boysenberry, raspberry and elderberries leaf out.

The Cherry trees that were sent as a replacement for the original dead chestnut trees, also leafed out upon arrival in the fall.  They quickly faded and never awoke this spring.  Total screw up on Burgess’s part – they send dormant trees to hot, still-summer Texas only to have the plants leaf out then die.

Look at this mail label – almost everything I originally bought had to be replaced!  And then, the replacements died.


mail label of burgess replacement order

I am so disappointed!  I spent over $100 on their plants.  The original order was shipped too late and the plants were in bad shape.  Most never made it.  So, in the fall I followed their warranty procedure.  At that time I told them that I did not want them to ship worn out plants that had sat around the greenhouse all summer.  Against my request, they sent me those very plants in the fall.

eBurgess.com’s warranty is no good!  They replace defective plants with a one-time replacement warranty of more defective plants.

Overall, I feel that the $150 or so that I spent with burgess was money totally wasted.

e Burgess.com Replacement Shipment

I am not very pleased with the plants that I purchased from Burgess (eburgess.com) last spring, 2015.  The shipment was several months late.  When the plants finally arrived, they were in poor condition and past prime spring planting time.  Most of them died, so I took Burgess up on their replacement warranty.  This is the replacement order they sent.  The fir trees you see are Colorado Blue Spruce.  The 3 Spruce in the original order were DOA on arrival, as was much of the shipment.  These replacement trees went immediately into tree pots.  They immediately started to drop needles and are now dead.  This is how the plants came out of the large green plastic shipping bag – some are wrapped in plastic, some just dried out bare root.  Not very impressive.   The 3 fat stems with the dried brown root mass are 3 replacement raspberries.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

This is another replacement tree.  I’m sorry that I didn’t make note what tree was which, but they all looked rather sorry.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

This small bare root tree has one of it’s 2 stems broken.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

What a sad looking tree.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

Well, it’s been a warm February and some of my trees are already budding out.  Most of my Burgess.com trees aren’t looking too good and I know some are dead because there are fungus bumps at the soil line and when I scratch a tiny bit of bark it is black, not white or green.

I’ll give an update report in a few months after they all should be budded out and see what the death count is.  Burgess only offers a one time replacement, so the sorry plants they sent out this past fall are my replacements for the late shipment of disaster they sent in the spring of 2015.  Pretty bad over-all experience with Burgess.

This Season’s Tomato & Pepper Seedlings

The Tomato and Pepper seedlings are coming along very well.
I started the tomatoes and peppers in small seed starting plug trays – with between 72 and 128 cells in each flat. This works very well.

I put at least 2 seeds in each hole, sometimes more if I think the pepper seeds won’t germinate well. I had almost full pepper germination! I have a hard time just pinching off the extra seedling, so I end up pulling the plug out, separating the roots and replanting them in recycled plastic plant holders. I put the one of the seedlings back into the plug tray using the original seed starting mix and I use garden soil/potting mix to plant the extra seedlings.

These Rutgers are the extra tomatoes that I replanted instead of just pinching them off. They are all doing well – this picture is a week old. Tomato and pepper seedlings seem to transplant very well with no stunting.

transplanted tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings in the original plug trays.  You can see Arizona Cypress seedlings in small pots.

tomato seedlings

These are 2 pepper plug trays.  Hot peppers are in one tray and sweet peppers in another.  These are not quite big enough for me to want to transplant them yet.   I am very pleased with the pepper germination.

transplanted tomato seedlings

I learned to seed tomatoes and peppers in separate trays because tomatoes germinate quicker and I can put them out in the cool greenhouse earlier.  I have to keep the peppers in the warm house longer as they fully germinate and this would cause any tomato seedlings to not get sufficient sun and get leggy.  Peppers also take longer for all different varieties to fully germinate and so I have to put them out in the sun during the day, then bring them back into the warm house for the night, then back outside the next day.  They only go out to the cooler greenhouse after all varieties have finally germinated.

Trying To Determine Soil pH On The Cheap

I need to find out what my soil pH is.  I have questions because of the poor results that I have experienced the past few years.  I have a pH detector, the kind with a meter on top and one metal shaft to stick in the soil.  It doesn’t work – I get the same neutral result regardless of whether I stick it in soil, tap water or even dipping it in white vinegar!  Obviously it is unreliable.

I have pH test strips, so I decided to try to use them.  I dug up a tiny bit of dirt from several spots of each of my six beds.  I mixed this with water, hoping that maybe the pH would transfer from soil to the water slurry mix.  I don’t know if this really works.

ph test of garden soil

This is my soil slurry.  I am now rather unconvinced that the acidity or alkalinity would transfer to the water.  The strip is dipped into the water and the soil residue has to be removed to read the stick.
home made soil ph test

This shows the soil to be about pH 6.  That is not optimal – a good general garden soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5. This quickie test shows that my soil barely made it. I still wonder what my real soil pH is.

ph test for soil acidity

If anyone knows if this quickie test has any validity, I would like to hear from you.