FAQs

How big are your seedlings?
What does "hardening off" mean?
Why don't you sell root vegetable seedlings?
I'd really love it if you grew X. Will you grow it for me?
Why do I have to wait until May 15 to get seedlings?
Why don't you ship?
What's the difference between heirloom vs. open pollinated?
What about hybrids? Is a hybrid the same thing as GMO?
I see tomatoes listed as determine or indeterminate. What's the difference?

How big are your seedlings?

Our plants come in 3 or 4" square pots, depending on what's appropriate for the plant. Plants like tomatoes and peppers were started weeks ago so that they're already at a good size, and they've already been hardened off outside.

What does "hardening off" mean?

Plants that are started indoors need to be acclimated to living outside. Cooler temps, wind, and lower humidity can be rough on plants at first, so we expose them gradually over the course of 2-3 weeks. By the time you get your seedlings, they're safe to plant outside.

Why don't you sell root vegetable seedlings?

Some plants, especially root vegetables, grow best when you direct sow the seeds in the ground rather than planting a seedling. We don't sell radish seedlings because they grow so fast (some varieties grow from seed to harvest in 3 weeks!) that we don't feel right selling them as seedlings.

I'd really love it if you grew X. Will you grow it for me?

Possibly! Because we're growing our seedlings in a small space, all by hand, we're limited by space and time. Other times, there are plants that don't do well when planted as seedlings, or require a special method to germinate and grow from seed. If there's a particular variety you really want, let us know at hello@giychicago.com and we'll see what we can do!

Why do I have to wait until May 15 to get seedlings?

May 15 is the date in Chicago when we can be sure that all danger of frost has passed. If you plant out things like basil, tomatoes, or peppers too early, they can be damaged or killed by cold and wind. While we do harden off our seedlings before selling them, we want to make sure your garden thrives.

Why don't you ship?

We're a (very) small business and prefer to stay local to the city of Chicago. We offer local pickup for free, and local delivery for a $5 fee. It's possible we'll offer shipping in the future.

What's the difference between heirloom vs. open pollinated?

Not much! Heirlooms are generally open pollinated plant varieties that are over 50 years old. Many of the open pollinated varieties we sell will become heirlooms some day. Open pollinated varieties are pollinated by wind or natural pollinators - some, like tomatoes, are self-pollinating while others must be cross-pollinated. 

Besides their wonderful flavor and history, another benefit of heirloom and open pollinated varieties are that you can save their seed to plant the next year. 

What about hybrids? Is a hybrid the same thing as GMO?

Hybrids aren't GMO. A hybrid vegetable is created when a plant breeder deliberately cross-pollinates two different varieties of a plant to breed for characteristics like size, vigor, and disease resistance. The main downside to planting hybrids is that you can't save the seed because the resulting plants would not be true to type.

In other words, if you save and plant the seed from the wonderful Sungold tomato, the plant would produce tomatoes with some blend of the characteristics of the parent plant, but they would not be Sungolds. If you want a true Sungold tomato, you have to buy hybrid seed year after year.

I see tomatoes listed as determinate or indeterminate. What's the difference?

Determinate varieties are smaller and more compact plants. They grow to a certain size and then stop growing - usually around 3-4 feet. They produce all their fruit at once, and then are finished. They grow well in containers and don't require staking, but a tomato cage is good for support.

Indeterminate varieties, on the other hand, will just keep growing - often to 6 feet or taller! Because they get so tall, they should be pruned and staked for support. They will continue to flower and produce fruit all summer long. Indeterminates are much more common.

Many dwarf varieties are the best of both worlds - tomatoes all summer long on a compact container-friendly plant.