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I looked through the W-S Agrarian catalogue... okay a few of those things I'd possibly buy, but honestly, with some of those prices and the type of products (vintage seed tray? why?), I'd almost think it a spoof. Who are they marketing to? The gullible wealthy hipsters population?

The scary thing is, it seems that they have actually been selling those $16.95 vegetable plants. The day after they went on sale, I noticed that about half of the varieties were "no longer available"-- I assume that means they had sold out. I find it really troubling that there could be people in this world who actually believe it makes sense to pay $17 dollars for a plant that will produce a single head of cauliflower.

I saw it the release and honestly got excited, but like too many things in this world, was disappointed when I actually investigated it a little. I too wonder who this is aimed at ... and, if I had to guess, it would be the same people that purchase their sauces and spices there ... people who want to appear to be hip & cool without doing the real work of gardening. That said, I can't wait till a couple of years pass and these things start to turn up at yard & estate sales!

Ahh, we just got our catalog yesterday. Daughter pushed the catalog under my nose and was all, "see mom, this coop costs $850!" We built our own in $150 range by recycling wood.

Sooner or later people will realize how mail order is a rip off


I'd TOTALLY pay seventeen bucks for a plant I'd put in a container, forget to water, and dies.
... or get a packet from High Mowing Seed for three bucks and get a ton of lettuce for a fraction of the cost...

This is depressing.

Oh c'mon, let's be fair - those $16.95 lettuce plants are wrapped in burlap and tied with a ribbon!!!

I wonder if people would pay me to come over and wrap their plants in burlap?

The one that really made me howl with laughter was the "chicken coop predator kit" for $59.95. It's a roll of hardware cloth and some nails.

I also wondered about the beehives, bees not included. I'm going into my third year as a beginning beekeeper, and around here you should be installing your package bees in the next couple of weeks. Due to the increased interest in beekeeping, you need to have your bees ordered by the end of March, as most places sell out. I think many of those lovely copper-roofed beehives may spend the summer empty.

I bought unassembled hive bodies, nailed them together and painted them myself. It wasn't terribly hard, I learned the importance of square corners and I got a lot of satisfaction out of it.

But I don't have a copper roof!

Jinx. I posted on the exact same topic today. Except mine was a little meaner.

At seventeen bucks a head, that lettuce better be good enough to get me to my diet goal in one salad !

I think Agrarian, and similar catalogs & stores are aimed at those who have money & time and who want to think and look like they are gardening without the actual effort. Copper garden tools ? Really ?? My dense clay soil has been known to destroy all but the best-made implements.

The folks who shop WS on a regular basis are so rich, those prices don't make them bat their eyes (if they even look at the price). They would not be caught dead in Home Depot. Other customers might be purchasing a special gift to impress someone.

Where I live, chicken coops have to bear a pretty heavy snow load--we had 4 feet on the roof at one point this winter. I'm pretty sure these coops are built for California (thevdrier parts).

I would actually buy the fermentation crock. Those are hard to find and expensive no matter where you get them.

I wouldn't knock the copper tools too much. For one they are made of bronze so much harder than pure copper. I've had one for a couple of years and find it very sharp and just seems to dig into he earth easier than any steel trowel i've had. Quite possible i haven't had a really great steel trowel tough. The earth just slides off the surface and bronze is very corrosion resistant thats why its used for ships propellers and marine fittings. Its heavily promoted in the the UK gardening press and has some prominent proponents such as Bob Flowerdew from BBC gardeners question time their longest running gardening show (started 1947). It is expensive and is it worth the extra cost probably not but its a pleasure to use and i think its worth getting quality tools that you like to use and will last a lifetime. Plus there are some dodgy claims of slug deterance and due to its non magnetic character claims that it doesn't disturb the soil so much but i don't believe that sort of stuff but if you are biodynamically minded maybe a plus.

It's funny, I blogged about this yesterday too. Although in retrospect my post is angrier, and not nearly as funny! My big concern is that because of the name recognition people that are new to veg growing (there are so many right now) will be discouraged to take it on due to cost. WS is not the only culprit behind this trend...

Plus - if anyone would like to buy a Black Krim tomato plant for $16.95 I've got some for sale in my basement!

Not only are the prices ridiculous, but I'm sure you could find products of equal (if not better) quality locally. There's something very very wrong about shipping a lettuce plant across the country for almost $20, just to make someone a single salad.

New York is where I'd rather stay.
I get allergic smelling hay!
But if I have to pretend to farm,
I'll buy Agrarian for haute country charm!

--A new hit song by Mrs. Douglas and the One Percenters

LOL at those plant prices. If someone standing in front of me tried to charge me 13 bucks for a 4" basil or 50 bucks for a raspberry I would punch them right in the nose.

Wow, this makes White Flower farm look like the bargain basement.

Chicks sold seperately line gave me a mad chuckle. I think you'll know you've got a bonafide craze when you also start seeing cute little sweater vests for your chicks sold in a catalog. Happy Spring Amy. I'm a fan of your work.

Mary Gray posted about this yesterday and I DID think it was a spoof at first, until I saw that each picture linked back to W-S. Yikes!

I didn't go as far as checking out prices. I just knew they would be ridiculous. Is it because some people need to buy from a trendy place so they can really feel au courant and doing the trendiest thing?

I'm going to follow David and comment on the tools. I suspect W-S pushes the copper aspect because copper is much more trendy than bronze. Copper garden ornaments, copper rain chains, copper roofs on birdhouses and all that. And you're right. Copper is soft and would make a bad tool.

But if you take that copper and add tin you get an entire chapter in the history of human civilization. Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age. Bronze was used for everything from fine jewelry to cookware; from axes, adzes and plows to swords, spear points and armor. The iron age came about not because the early wrought iron was better but because it was cheaper to make and for many purposes, good enough. Once forged iron and, later, steel were developed, bronze was relegated to specialized uses. So the W&S bronze garden tools would be both functional and beautiful.

Would I pay $60 for that bronze trowel from W&S? Heck, no. I'll spend my money on beauty for the garden and function for my tools. I use stainless steel trowels made by Wilcox All-Pro. because they are the only ones I don't seem to bend or break. If I need a top of the line spade or fork, I go to Lee Valley Tools which carries both the steel Clarington Forge tools and similarly made stainless steel types.

But really, as long as you stay away from the el cheapo models, spades found at the local hardware store work just fine. And if you slice through a slug with one, it will be deterred just as effectively as if sliced by copper.

Are you sure you're pricing the chicken coop right? I think the coop is $879.95 and the run is $399.95. That's over $1200 plus shipping. You can get 3' extenders for a mere $150 each and wow, you can get a 25' roll of hardware cloth for, hold on to your wallets, $60! And it's exclusive to on-line customers. For that price it should be stainless steel. Normal stores sell it for around $20! WS is just catering to those with more money than brains.

Just the chicken coop (the base unit) costs $934.95 not $400. Add the run as pictured in the image and it goes up to $1389.90. That's with delivery. That's a 4' x 6' run. You have to stoop to go into the run too unless you're short and stand right in the middle. And the thing weighs 354 lbs, which you'll be dragging around your yard with the help of the "sturdy rubber wheels and wheelbarrow handles". And it's 4' wide so it can't just be wheeled anywhere or through many gates. And it's made of plywood.

If you need some fashionable hats for your chickens, I'm starting up a line. None, unfortunately at this time, have any feathers. Coming soon to a catalog near you!

News Flash, Williams Sonoma will be changing their name to Barnum & Bailey. Have at 'em.

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