Our Trial Garden

The Bonnie Plants Trial Garden at our corporate office in Union Springs, Alabama, provides fertile ground for gathering hands-on knowledge about vegetable and herb plants—both plants that we currently offer and plants we’re considering offering in future seasons. The Trial Garden was started in 2010 by President Stan Cope and, in 2011, the program expanded to two additional small test gardens in New Hampshire and Montana, allowing us to test plants in a variety of locations, conditions, and climates. Read more about the 2011 growing season in on our Bonnie Plants blog post.

A man, Mr. Cope, walks the trial garden in Alabama and surveys the plants.

The Bonnie Plants Trial Garden in Union Springs has become a point of local interest and a gathering place for current and former employees.

What’s in the Garden?

Vegetables grow in black pots in our trial garden in Alabama.

Plants growing in our Union Springs Trial Garden have perfect soil and full sun.

In our Union Springs garden, conditions are ideal for growing our full line of vegetables and herbs. We use the same growing mix that our starter plants are grown in, and the plants are watered and fed regularly through an irrigation system. We know that at least 21 percent of gardeners plant their veggies and herbs in small spaces, such as containers and raised beds, so we grow the plants in large individual containers and raised beds as well as in the ground. We have two employees in the Trial Garden who document the quantity and weight of the fruit picked from each plant throughout its harvest season.

Bonnie Plants tests plants in our growing station in Montana.

Plants tested at our Montana growing station grew best under a plastic tunnel cover.

In New Hampshire, Bonnie Field Representative Deke Jackson planted 190 tomato plants in pots outside. He mentions some of his top picks for tomatoes and the reason why. “Bush Early Girl was covered in fruit. It produced so much, so early,” Deke says. “Black Prince produced really well for an heirloom…20 pounds of fruit. And Better Bush is just a beautiful plant. Good size, habit, and extra early bearing.” In Montana, where the growing season is short (about 6 weeks, compared with 4 months in Alabama), Station Manager Bill Furry found that growing under a plastic tunnel yielded the best results. For example, tomato containers grown under the tunnel produced 25% more fruit than those grown outside.

Sharing the Harvest

Peppers are gathered in baskets and donated to local charities.

Fruit such as these peppers are gathered, weighed, and delivered to local non-profit organizations.

Bonnie Plants shares the bounty of our gardens with our local communities. In 2010, more than 13,268 pounds of fresh produce were donated from the Bonnie Plants Trial Garden in Union Springs to nearby food banks, homeless shelters, churches, and other non-profit organizations.

2010 Bonnie Trial Garden Stats

  • Better Boy Tomato: 5 plants produced 543 tomatoes equaling 217 pounds.
  • Eggplant: 24 plants produced 3,059 eggplants equaling 574 pounds.
  • German Queen Tomato: 5 plants produced 162 tomatoes equaling 132 pounds.
  • Bonnie Bell Pepper: 10 plants produced 265 peppers equaling 48 pounds.
  • Habanero Pepper: 5 plants produced 1,707 peppers, equaling 23 pounds.
  • Clemson Spineless Okra: 5 plants produced 1,069 okra equaling 48 pounds.
  • Sweet 100 Tomato: 5 plants produced 3,809 tomatoes equaling 77 pounds.

Total Harvest: 80,000+ items harvested! 13,268 pounds donated to food banks, homeless shelters, and churches.

14 Comments

rachel hoskins

are your plants gmo? do you sell any organic?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Rachel,
Bonnie Plants are non GMO, and there is an organic line sold in some areas. You can read more about Bonnie Plants greener practices here. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Ray Barry

Can I use your liquid fertilizer when I plant your vegtables or do I have to use dry kind

Danielle Carroll

Hi Ray,
Yes, you can use liquid fertilzier or granular in your vegetable garden!
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

robbie

Hi thanks for a great variety of products! Have been using bonnie plants for years and just realized your home office was in union springs!I’m from phenix city !may god continue to bless your company for your hard work and genoruse sprit.

Jacob Dienner

Your family story, history, combined with your commitments and community contributions is touching – WOW*!* May the Maker of Heaven and Earth (and of us all) continue to cause His warm breezes to blow softly, His soft rains to fall gently, and His refreshing sun to beam kindly on your endeavors. I (we) so love gardening, and it is most delightful to read of your founders and current operators stories and aspirations. Please allow me to repeat, your story, of successes, failures, goals and commitments, touches me deeply. God Bless You and Yours. I hope to stop by your home in Alabama and meet some of the family.

Jacob and Kathryn Dienner; Lancaster County, PA

Mary Beth

Thank you so much for the kind words, Jacob. You may also want to join our online community on Facebook. Home gardeners, community gardens and school gardens share their photos and stories there, as well as our fun 3rd Grade Cabbage Program pics. I think you would enjoy that, too. Best to you and yours, Mary Beth @ Bonnie Plants

Shena Bohr

We would like to thank you just as before for the stunning ideas you offered Jesse when preparing her own post-graduate research and, most importantly, regarding providing every among the ideas in 1 blog post. In case we had been aware of your web page a year ago, we may possibly have been saved the unwanted measures we were implementing. Thank you really significantly.

Mary Beth

Hi Shena,
Thank you for your kind words! Glad to know that you’ve found our website AND found it most helpful. Best of luck in your continued research. Happy growing, Mary Beth/Bonnie Plants

Deb

I have been using Bonnie Plants for years and have never been disappointed. Whether grown in pots, large containers or in the ground I have had nothing but success. Just planted 16 plants in my autumn garden, with 286 frost free days to garden in Florida this year I have a good start.

Leeburg

I sure would like to buy some of your seeds. Where do I find them on your site?? Leeburg

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hello Leeburg,

Bonnie Plants actually doesn’t sell seeds. We sell starter plants, or transplants, in biodegradable pots. Bonnie transplants make growing vegetables easier and quicker by taking the time and guesswork out of seed-starting. If you’d like to buy some of our plants, you can find a local Bonnie retailer through our Find Our Plants page. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Valery

Wow. The fact that you donate your produce makes me love your product even more. My plants are always Bonnie. I just can’t wait to move from NJ to Fl. The longer the growing season the happier I’ll be. Nothing beats a fresh Jersey tomato though. Is it the soil?? You do sell in Fl, right?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Valery, Yes, we sell in Florida year-round! Happy growing in Jersey, Florida, and everywhere! Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Comments are closed.