Whitney, the founder of Decker Rd. Seeds, has always loved gardening. She studied botany in college and then worked for a seed company. But after moving onto a four acre plot, she decided to start her own thing.
Why did you start Decker Rd. Seeds?
I worked for a seed company for several years before starting Decker Rd. Seeds. After moving onto some acreage, I decided to put my gardening knowledge and seed business experience to good use. Decker Rd. Seeds started in 2012 as a way to showcase all of my favorite gardening supplies, seeds, bulbs, and so on. And it's just grown (no pun intended) from there.
What’s the process for packaging your seeds (starting with them being harvesting to ending up in customer hands)?
I get asked a lot about where the seeds come from. Some of the seeds are harvested on my little four acre plot in Philomath, Oregon. Others are grown by contract in Tangent, Oregon. And some unique varieties are collected from other farms up and down the Willamette Valley. All are non-gmo and the majority are organic. I harvest the seeds by hand once the flower head has dried, then the seeds are cleaned using a mesh screen. Customers can then purchase the seeds in individual packets or in a complete seed kit (which is what you sent to your subscribers).
How do you choose which seeds to harvest?
I have a small test garden where I grow samples for trial. If I like them, then they are grown on a larger scale. I look for things like germination rate, ease of growing, and of course things like appearance and length of flowering (or flavor in the case of vegetables and herbs). I try to only offer varieties that are reliable, with a high success rate – I don’t want people to get discouraged trying to grow high-maintenance plants from seed.
What does your day to day look like? How does it change with the seasons
My day to day changes a lot with the seasons, but most days are a mix of office stuff like answering emails, filling orders, scheduling, and working in the garden. Spring is definitely my busiest time of year.
For those of us that don’t have green thumbs, what’s most essential for happy plants?
The number one reason for plants failing to sprout or thrive is watering! Over-watering, usually. I don’t know of many plants that really like heavy, wet soil – so lay off the watering can!