If you read nothing else, read this section. Amazon has changed our expectations. When I was younger, any time you bought something mail order, you accepted the fine print that said “Allow six to eight weeks for delivery.” That’s good advice when you are ordering from us and in some cases even that won’t be enough. Ordering from us is a lot like growing things: it takes patience, you may doubt the outcome, and it might take the better part of a year, but you usually end up with what you wanted. Remember that this is mostly a one-man operation. There are times of the year when I might not set foot in the office for a couple of weeks.
For pre-orders and any root and tubers orders placed after mid-summer, we ship in time for planting in spring. Most likely you will get your order in March. You might get it earlier, but there is no guarantee. If you place a pre-order when they first open in April, you could be waiting almost a year for shipment. The more items you order and, particularly, the more different species that you order, the longer it usually takes to ship. You should only be concerned about your root and tuber order if you have not received a shipping notification or otherwise heard from us by April 1.
There is no time when I can give you an estimate about when your specific order will ship because I don’t know. If pressed, I might give you one, but it is a wish, not an estimate. Weather changes constantly; some plants take longer than others to clean and pack; some are in the cooler waiting to be shipped, but others are harvested on demand; and there is only one of me and I don’t know when I will get sick, break an ankle, get called to jury duty, or some other time-wasting enterprise. We have been bringing in 1000 to 1300 pre-orders and fall/winter orders the past couple of years. I can ship about 30 orders per day. You can see that, at the rate that I can work, it would take 43 days to ship all of the orders. That’s almost 9 weeks, assuming that I take weekends off. That also doesn’t account for weather. There are very few places that we can ship to in January. I ship roughly in the order received, but sometimes it is more efficient to skip around. It takes all of February and March to get the orders out the door.
Orders for in stock items placed in spring and summer usually get processed pretty quickly, by which I mean in about two weeks. Often it is faster, sometimes slower. The postal service usually delivers most orders in a week, but rarely it can take a month or more. So, again, if you allow six to eight weeks for delivery, that is an expectation that I can satisfy about 99% of the time.
News about shipping can be found on our status page. I do my best to keep that updated because I often fall far behind on correspondence.
If you place an order for both seeds and roots/tubers when we are not shipping roots and tubers, we will send the seeds separately.
In general, we can’t accommodate requests to ship at a specific time. You can ask, but the answer will usually be no. January through March is a three month death march where I do very little but package, stuff envelopes, and sleep. While I would like to be able to satisfy special requests, experience has shown that I usually screw them up.
We ship everything through the US postal service.
Most orders over $10 get tracking, but it has to be entered manually and we often fall behind on adding it to the system. If you didn’t receive a tracking number and your order doesn’t arrive within two weeks of receiving the order completed email, send us an email and we’ll dig up the tracking number to figure out what’s going on.
Between the time that you place your order and the time that it ships, you may receive email status updates:
- Processing means that we have received the order but haven’t looked at it yet.
- Weather hold means that your weather (or occasionally ours) is too cold to ship roots and tubers.
- Completed means that your order has been packed, postage printed, and either has gone or will soon go to the post office.
- Clearing means that we have received and deposited your check and are waiting for it to clear.
There are other statuses that you will only see if you log in and look at the order through the web site:
- Ship prep means that we are preparing your order (locating items, cleaning, packaging, etc.). This doesn’t necessarily mean that the order is shipping soon, just that we have looked at it to make sure that it is shippable as is.
- Pre-order means that your order includes items that have not been harvested yet. You should not expect any updates until after harvest.
- To-dig means that you have ordered items that are dug on demand and we are getting close to doing that and shipping your order.
- Contact means that there is some problem with your order and we have either attempted to contact you or are planning to.
- Hold means that we are waiting for your payment to arrive (if you paid with a check or money order) or that something unusual has happened with payment (for example, if Paypal has opened a dispute about the order).
- EAP means that you placed an order for Early Access Program items, which we will ship once all the preorders are out the door.
Orders that include roots, tubers, bulbs, and rhizomes carry a label listing the contents on the outside of the package in order to comply with the import requirements of some states. If you are sending someone a gift and want it to be a surprise, you might not want to ship directly to the receiver.
Orders contain a packing list that only shows the identity and quantity of each item. Prices and totals are not printed on the packing list.
Most orders of 20 items or less are sent in padded envelopes. Larger orders are sent in boxes.
We get some complaints about shipping in plastic, but this is not an unexamined practice. Plastic padded envelopes give good protection against cold temperatures, which is our main shipping problem. The fully plastic envelopes that we use are recyclable.