Shipping

USA shipping is included in all prices or, if you prefer to think of it that way, free!  The only additional cost at checkout will be sales tax if you are in the state of Washington.  International shipping is $2.  Information about current shipping expectations is sometimes available on our status page.

Shipping Time

This is the simplest way to understand when your order will ship, but I really recommend reading this whole page.

1. Does the order contain a mix of seeds and roots/tubers?

YES: Continue to #2.

NO: Continue to #3.

2. Did you select All Together shipping at checkout?

YES: The seeds and roots/tubers will ship together between November and April.

NO: The seeds will ship in time for you to start them for spring planting (usually by the end of January) and the roots/tubers will ship between November and April, with the specific date depending on your climate and the weather on our end.

3. Does the order contain only seeds?

YES: The order should ship within about two weeks.

NO: Continue to #4.

4. Does the order contain achira, arracacha, dahlia, horseradish, sea kale, skirret, tartar bread plant, or yacon divisions?

YES: The order will ship in spring.

NO: Your order will ship between November and April (most closer to the end of that period), with the specific date depending on harvest timing, the complexity of the order, and the weather.  When I have your items cleaned and packed and I judge the weather safe enough, your order will ship.

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 me and in some cases even that won’t be enough.  Ordering from me 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.  Everything is likely to happen more slowly than you would prefer and my customer service is of poorer quality than I would like or you deserve.

For preorders and any root and tubers orders placed after mid-summer, I 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 preorder when they first open in May, you could be waiting almost a year for shipment.  The more items that 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.  If that date comes and goes with no order and no contact, then there is a problem; please get in touch and we’ll sort it out.  The only exception is if you live in a very cold climate, like Alaska, where the weather is sometimes not safe for shipping until May.

For a few years, I offered an option for ASAP/Weather Risk shipping, where the customer assumed the risk for damage.  Wow, was that ever a terrible experiment.  It resulted in a large number of requests for replacement or refund and a bunch of credit card chargebacks.  So, now I am the Tuber Nazi.  You get your order when you get it.  I’ll ship it when I think it is safe and, if the order gets damaged, I will be happy to replace or refund.

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; many of these products are vulnerable to deterioration and it isn’t unusual that I discover that roots and tubers that I think are ready to go have developed rot or mold and I have to try to locate reserves.  This is much more complicated than just pulling seed packets off the shelf.  I ship roughly in the order received, but sometimes it is more efficient to skip around.  There are very few places that I can ship to in January and it takes all of February and March to get the orders out the door.  The bottom line is that you’ll get your order when you get it.  I don’t mean that to sound flippant, but I want you to be happy and the best way to achieve that is to set the most accurate expectations that I can.

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 orders in about 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.

Seed orders

If you place an order for both seeds and roots/tubers when I am not shipping roots and tubers, I will usually send the seeds separately.  Usually is not always.  The goal is to get the seeds to you soon enough that you can start them on time.  If I expect to be able to ship your entire order early enough to meet that goal, then I might hold off.

Scheduled shipping

In general, I 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.

Tracking

I ship everything through the US postal service.

Root and tuber orders will have tracking.  Most seed orders are shipped in first class flats with no tracking.  If your order doesn’t arrive within two weeks of receiving the order completed email, send me an email and I’ll dig up the tracking number to figure out what’s going on.

Order Status

Between the time that you place your order and the time that it ships, you may receive email status updates:

  • Processing means that I have received the order but haven’t looked at it yet.
  • Preorder means that your order includes items that have not been harvested yet.  You should not expect any updates until after harvest.
  • Completed means that your order has been packed, postage printed, and either has gone or will soon go to the post office.

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 I am preparing your order (locating items, cleaning, packaging, etc.).  This doesn’t necessarily mean that the order is shipping soon, just that I have looked at it to make sure that it is shippable as is.
  • Weather hold means that your weather (or occasionally ours) is too cold to ship roots and tubers.
  • Today means that I am packing your order today.  You checked at just the right moment!
  • To-dig means that you have ordered items that are dug on demand and I am getting close to doing that and shipping your order.
  • Contact means that there is some problem with your order and I have either attempted to contact you or am planning to.
  • Hold means that I am 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).
  • Lab Prep means that you have placed an order for in vitro plantlets and they are being prepared, a process that usually takes about six weeks.

If you check your order status a lot, you may notice that it changes between ship prep and other statuses repeatedly.  I periodically sort through the orders this way, so it is nothing to worry about.  Usually it just means that I checked and it was still too cold or some item was still not available and then put the order back where it started.

Packaging

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.

I 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.

Spring Harvested Crops

I harvest achira, arracacha, dahlia, sea kale, skirret, tartar bread plant, and yacon in late winter or spring, before shipment.  These species have very perishable propagules, so this results in fresher divisions that arrive in better condition.  You should not expect orders including these species to arrive before March in mostly frost-free climates or before April anywhere else.  Effectively, all orders are preorders, because I never have these propagules sitting in storage.