The military has a saying that no plan survives contact with the enemy and, while the implications of that saying don’t fully apply here, you get the gist of it. It is easy to come up with ideas that sound good on paper but don’t work well in the real world. Offering in vitro plantlets seemed like a great solution to the difficult problem of offering maximally disease free plants. Unfortunately, I underestimated the difficulty that customers would experience. The failure rate was so high that I got stuck in a place where I couldn’t catch up just with supplying replacements. I could, of course, offer no replacements, but I was trying to be generous in the early days when people were trying something new. I have also learned previously that it really isn’t possible to offer a totally unwarranted product.
So, back to the drawing board. I will be removing in vitro plantlets as a standard option. If you have an outstanding order that I am still working on (there are about 50 of you), I will still fulfill those orders over this winter.
What’s next? I’m not sure. I may move to growing some varieties in pots under controlled conditions for small tubers and sell those individually, which accomplishes basically the same thing as plantlets, but in a package that most people will find much easier to deal with.
This is not the first big mistake I have made in this business and I’m sure it won’t be the last either, but I will probably experiment a little more carefully before making big changes in the future.