about us

WELCOME

WELCOME to our catalogue of Inspirations Vegetable and Herb Seeds. We specialise in sourcing top quality, high germination, vegetable seeds for the cool climate regions for the home gardener. We work closely with professional seedsmen in the vegetable seeds industry. We are situated in Tasmania in a region called the Tamar Valley. Tasmania has a latitude of 42º South. We are a small business which means that we are able to devote time and energy to sourcing top quality seeds for you, the home gardener. We select and sell varieties that we know will grow well and consistently in a cool maritime climate such as Tasmania. These varieties will work in any similar climates. If you are unsure about whether our varieties will perform in your area, please contact us and we can advise you based on our broad experience of growing trials.

Some regions are too small to be of commercial significance for a wide range of vegetable varieties. The research and development costs would not be economically viable. We want to make a wide range of vegetable varieties available to the home gardener which will perform well in this region. To do this we trial and grow all varieties and sow at many times of the year for assessment. Eventually after some failures and some successes we find the right variety for the region, this has genetic information which is programmed to perform well ,the same way every time provided it is sown at our suggested sowing dates. We source early varieties because Tasmania has late springs, but short summers and cool winters. There will be some climatic variations ie in the North Tamar valley they will be earlier than the midland by maybe three weeks and a few degrees. Our work takes time and energy but we believe that it is important work so the home gardener experiences success.

We have been researching and trialling many more selections for you, and we can now offer some of these this year that we believe are success stories for the home gardener, amateur or professional. Most of these are early varieties, which we are interested in because they grow, flower and fruit early. There are three advantages of this:

• flowers and then high yields before the onset of adverse weather conditions,
• fast growth before some weeds get established, and
• for cooler short growing seasons where other later varieties may fail to thrive.

They will also work in warmer regions.

We specialise in rare beans

In addition to new early bean varieties, we are also offering a list of new tomatoes that mature later than our existing varieties, for our mainland customers or those of us in slightly warmer regions. These are known as midseason and late season varieties in horticulture. They will perform better, for the home gardener, in warmer regions with a longer growing season, or near coastal areas or warmer microclimates. In horticulture these varieties have days to maturity next to them, for example 90 days, this means that they will set ripe fruit in approximately 3 months from a small plant, not from sowing which could be more like 110 days, so from mid Spring sowing when soil warms and night temps increase they will produce a decent crop over a long growing season, but not before. Generally these are larger tomatoes, because they have longer to mature, but not always. They will perform like this every year because that is their genetic makeup.

In the industry these tomato varieties were well known years ago, some still are, and we feel it is important to introduce them to the home garden because they all have individual histories recorded on many other sites and are true to type for example the Heinz variety. They have all come from a few seeds stored in ideal conditions, sometimes for several years, in professional research stations, within Australia. They are all open pollinated. All our seeds have been tested for germination and are above 80% germination.

Enjoy our selections and enjoy your garden harvest.

SPECIALISTS

SPECIALISTS are valuable. We specialise in vegetable seeds for the home gardener in cool climate regions like Tasmania. We have cool storage facilities, draft free and soil free working areas, germination testing facilities and a ¼ acre trial garden where we grow many varieties of vegetables throughout each growing season allowing for comparisons between size, productivity, taste and their suitability for our climactic region. In our catalogue we use the words selected variety or F1 or open pollinated varieties, rather than using specialist variety names as these can change often. We know our seeds are the best in their class.

ravenswood community garden



video courtesy of NAB Schools First

WE ARE PROUD to announce that we are now a business partner with St. George's School Launceston and Ravenswood Community Garden. This exciting opportunity allows us to work closely with teaching staff and students to use our seeds to produce quality vegetables for harvest and food preparation. Students will gain confidence and skills and be able to seek employment in the industry.

RCG now grows seedlings for inspirations Garden Centre. We offer our congratulations in 2011 to the community garden for their success in the joint venture with St George's School, NRM North and Inspirations Garden Centre in winning an impact award of $100,000 from the National Australia Bank.

Kerry Finch MLC Special Interest Speech 21-03-2013
How a partnership between Inspirations Nursery, Exeter and students at St. George's School, Ravenswood, produces thousands of vegetable seedlings each year.

VIDEO: Children with disabilities growing skills

A group of intellectually disabled children in the state's north is developing a love of gardening.
Video Posted Sun 24 Nov 2013, 7:27pm AEDT
Selina Bryan - Source: 7pm TV News TAS | Duration: 1min 51sec

Tas Global Seeds

WE NOW HAVE links with Tas Global Seeds which specialises in pasture and green manure varieties for farmers. This ethical business carries out trial work at the Cressy Agricultural research Station. We are agents for their varieties of green manures for the home gardener. We are now trialling heritage vegetable varieties at the Cressy Research Station which are true to type, disease-free, early and productive.

OUR TRIAL GROUND

OUR TRIAL GROUND is northeast facing, on level ground. The soils are thin with underlying mineral rich rock; black basalt over doloritic soil. Most of the land around us is grazing land and vineyards. Our trial ground is in Relbia, Tasmania. We experience late spring frosts and early winter frosts. The main growing season is late September through to the end of February however mid November to mid February is our main growing slot. This region is dry; 680mm of rain per annum. The hottest months are January and February…25ºC-30ºC, and cool winters to -2ºC over night and prevailing spring and autumn winds form the north west. We use raised beds with mushroom compost and Complete Organic Fertiliser. (C.O.F.) It is an ideal site for trialing early varieties of vegetables due to a reasonably late growing season and tough growing conditions.

OUR SEED PACKETS

OUR SEED PACKETS do not have pictures on them but they do have accurate information for you that has been gained from growing trials in our region. The catalogue is arranged in alphabetical order and is colour coded. The colours refer to the plant groups for crop rotation. If you follow these guidelines your veggie garden will be a success. Some seed may seem expensive but the germination and varieties are far more important than the quantity of seed. The cost is relative to the rate of germination.

CROP ROTATION

CROP ROTATION is vital. Farmers have practiced crop rotation for centuries. most vegetable gardening books mention crop rotation because it is the best form of land management. Our catalogue is arranged in alphabetical order for ease of locating the varieties but we have added a colour code next to each variety which places each in a colour group. The varieties in each separate colour group can be planted successfully alongside each other. We hope to make the crop rotation plan easier by colour coding. We have also introduced several green manure crops for Tasmania's cool climate and would recommend that at least one bed be left without cultivation each year as green manure or ley crop to allow the soil to rest from intensive cultivation.

  YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEAR 4 YEAR 5
BED 1 Purple Blue Ley Green Red/Orange/Pink
BED 2 Red/Orange/Pink Purple Blue Ley Green
BED 3 Green Red/Orange/Pink Purple Blue Ley
BED 4 Ley Green Red/Orange/Pink Purple Blue
BED 5 Blue Ley Green Red/Orange/Pink Purple

BED GUIDE/COLOUR CODE

Purple = leeks, onions, carrots and parsnips
Red/Orange/Pink = capsicums, cucumbers, pumpkins, tomatoes, egg plant, sweet corn
Green = cabbages, swedes, radishes
Blue = beans and peas

Ley crop: Usually a grass crop left for one to two years, mown in late spring. This allows the soil to recover from cropping, and improves, structure, texture and nutrient status.

Green manures: These are either autumn or Spring/Summer sown, there are specific types for regions and therefore have suggested sowing dates. The right choice is important. They are usually cut down or dug in after a short growing season before they flower, and sowing of a food crop follows soon after.

ORGANIC

WE RECOMMEND a book called Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties by Carol Deppe and another called Tasmania Year Round Gardening… by Steve Solomon.

The seed that we source is fresh, strong and of reliably high germination and will perform as we state in our descriptions. We sell a product called Complete Organic Vegetable Booster which is a mixture of canola seed meal, three types of lime, kelp meal and blood and bone. These natural ingredients that will make your vegetables flourish. We also suggest the use of sprays for pests and diseases that are as organic as possible. We recommend Dipel, Spinosad, organic slug pellets and netting to prevent bird damage. There are plenty of books about companion planting. This is a very complicated subject which on the face of it appears very simple but much research and experience is required before attempting to successfully combine companion planting and a crop rotation plan, and is beyond the scope of our catalogue.

Complete Organic Fertilizer (COF)

Steve Solomon, who has been our guide and mentor on many matters relating to vegetable seeds, explains how it is crucial to have healthy soils for growing vegetables because these will have high amounts of all the nutrients we need when we eat them. His book is called ‘The Intelligent Gardener - Growing Nutrient Dense Food’.

We have therefore amended the Complete Organic Vegetable Booster (above). We have renamed it COF (Complete Organic Fertiliser). Dolomite lime is no longer in the recipe, this is explained in the book. The new recipe calls for high calcium lime avoiding magnesium. Fineness  is essential, ie the closer to resembling chalk dust the better.

Soft rock phosphate is also essential. SRP is by far the best form that is acceptable to organics. Boron and copper are important but must be mixed in exactly the right proportions. Zinc sulphate is essential, but is deliquescent, meaning it takes in moisture from the air and can turn into a sloppy mess.

The following formula can be applied and is suitable for about 10m squared for the home gardener. It must be thoroughly mixed.

  • 1 litre high calcium agricultural lime
  • Half a litre gypsum
  • 1 litre Soft rock phosphate
  • Third of a cup of potassium sulphate
  • 3 litres of canola seed meal or lupin seed meal
  • 2 teaspoons boron
  • 1 teaspoon zinc sulphate
  • 1 teaspoon manganese sulphate
  • 2 teaspoons iron sulphate
  • Half a teaspoon copper sulphate
  • 1litre kelp meal

BIOSECURITY

BIOSECURITY is important. For some years now most of us have become familiar with the term biodiversity. More recently many countries have had to protect their borders and growers from importing seed contaminated with weed seed, soil and pests an diseases. These risks have become managed risks through the work of quarantine departments. Such management is called BIOSECURITY. Imagine if a grain producing area suffered an outbreak of a disease that wiped out the entire crop. This would be a devastating loss. By observing biosecurity protocols we have built up sound relationships with quarantine departments and therefore can access quality seeds from good seed merchants for the home gardener.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, PATENTS, AND PLANT BREEDERS RIGHTS

IT IS IMPORTANT to recognise the hard work, ideas and inventions of other people. It takes many years, skill and sometimes financial backing to develop a new vegetable variety or improve an existing one. Some seed is protected by plant breeders rights or patents. We only sell seed that we have a genuine right to access. We do not sell genetically modified seed because research into this is ongoing and beyond the scope of our catalogue.

OUR BELIEFS

WE BELIEVE that the rising costs of transport and food make it common sense to supply whatever foodstuffs you can from your garden.

We believe that the only way to know that you are eating healthy veggies is to grow your own.

We believe that the environment will benefit from more people planting and harvesting their own produce.

We believe it is important for younger generations to see where their food comes from and how it grows and to learn the planting and timing techniques that previous generations knew by heart.

We believe tasty vegetables full of nutritional value are essential ingredients for healthy living.

We believe that regional varieties of vegetables should always be grown as there is a very real danger that they could become lost.

We believe that organic principles and crop rotation practices are vital for maintaining healthy soils.

THANKS

THANKS to Steve Solomon for his long term advice and support. Steve Solomon is the author of "Growing Vegetables South of Australia". He has been a constant source of inspiration and advice; at least one third of the varieties we sell are from his own selections. We respect his skill in seed harvesting and saving and we are now agents for Steve's seeds.

Thanks also to Bob Reid, the Australian Seed Federation, the DPIWE in Tasmania, and to our fantastic staff and customers for their unfailing belief.

Robbie Dent of Tas Global Seeds, and all the professional seeds men who have helped us with selection of varieties for trial work and their guidance.

Brussel Sprout Trial Steve Solomon
brussel sprout trial Steve Solomon

company statement

AT INSPIRATIONS GARDEN CENTRE our staff, namely Ros, Jenny, Anna and Joan, all have vast experience and/or formal qualifications in Horticulture. Added to this everyone is friendly, approachable and always willing to assist customers meet their gardening needs. We value each and every customer and are thrilled that the repeat business we experience is equally because of the efficiency of our staff, our quality stock, and our customer friendly pricing structure.

We pride ourselves on stocking a diverse range of products from green stock to giftware. Our green stock includes rare and unusual, a wide selection of roses, ornamental trees, fruit and nut trees, climbing plants, camellias, rhododendrons, conifers, magnolias, seedlings, potted colour, shrubs, indoor plants and much more. We also stock soil conditioners, fertilizers, mulches, potting mixes, tools, and indoor and outdoor pots (in a variety of materials, styles and finishes), garden furniture, children's gardening toys and books, garden ornaments, and beautiful giftware. We try always to meet our customers' requests by sourcing stock from all over Australia.

We have been specialising in vegetable seeds since 2006. We set about sourcing seeds from the best seed merchant's world wide to trial under Tasmanian conditions. We kept detailed notes of germination times and rates, watering and feeding needs, and quantity and quality of the produce. We worked closely with experts in the field during the trials. If satisfied that the seed was suitable for the Tasmanian home gardener it was added to the list of varieties we now package and sell under our own label. We are immensely pleased to report that our vegetable seed company has grown and grown in the past six years, and is now a very important part of INSPIRATIONS GARDEN CENTRE.