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It’s now March, and about time to start preparing for the 2021 growing seasons.
Here’s the TL;DR: I had a fantastic customer experience with Rocky Mountain BioAg on a recent order, and it stood out so positively I felt compelled to give them a shout out. What follows is the full story and context.
I experimented a little last year, such as with different seed starting mixes, and although I have a lot more experimentation planned for this year, I will also be continuing with some of the things that worked last year.
One of the things I did was add certain organic components to my potting mixes, as well as a dose of fertilizer. The organic components break up over time and I believe they contribute a steady release of nutrients.
I rarely added any plant foods or fertilizers and experienced great results with plenty of cucumbers and hot peppers. My tomatoes didn’t fare so well, and the vegetables I planted earlier with less amended potting mixes also didn’t fare so well.
I didn’t add much to my potting mixes. Everything received either general purpose and tomato fertilizer. I also used langbeinite, a potassium magnesium sulfate mineral that I thought would help my cucumbers and their high potassium needs. The sulfur and magnesium could help with the hot peppers. Hot peppers also received a little bit of epsom salt, which is said to help make them hotter at the least.
Most plants also received crushed crab and lobster shell, and kelp meal.
The crab and lobster shell supposedly provides nutrients over time, and when I spoke the manufacturer, they said that it can also be helpful in providing anchor points for roots to grab onto.
One thing I liked about the crushed crab and lobster shell is that it helped to keep the squirrels and maybe other animals from digging into my planters too much. It’s abrasive to mix into soil by hand, and presumably animals don’t like the sharp edges either.
Then, there’s the kelp meal.
I couldn’t find it locally last year or this year, and so I ordered online from Rocky Mountain BioAg.
Buying fertilizer, potting mixes, or organic additives online is a pain. One website might have a low price, but then charge 2X the going rate for shipping. Other suppliers, such as Amazon, build the shipping fee into the price.
Rocky Mountain BioAg had fair pricing, and so I ordered from them last year with a great experience.
Now it’s time to order some more kelp for the 2021 planting and growing season, and after checking with a few suppliers Rocky Mountain BioAg had great pricing. They were also a few dollars cheaper than Amazon.
Not only are they less expensive than Amazon, I figured Rocky Mountain BioAg’s shipping practices are presumably better. Specialty suppliers usually know how to better package their products whereas Amazon workers throw everything into a bubble mailer or box, often with minimal protective packaging.
With my recent order, I purchased 2 bags of kelp meal of the brand I was familiar with from last year.
I received a call the afternoon after I placed my order, saying that the store was actually in the middle of changing suppliers. The 4 lb bags were no longer available.
Rocky Mountain BioAg offered a suitable solution – I could cancel the order, or if it was okay with them they could break apart a 50 pound bag of kelp meal and package it into two 4 lb bags for me.
I asked about the bags – kraft paper with plastic liner and heavy duty zipper top. The bags are heat-sealed closed for storage.
And, the product should perform similarly since the kelp comes from the same supplier as the brand I was seeking to buy.
I’m assuming that they’re changing suppliers because cutting out a middleman results in a higher profit margin for the supplier. Even so, it’s the same product, and the price was still fair, and so I agreed to the substitute.
On top of that, they gave me a 10% refund on my order to make up for the slight inconvenience.
My order arrived yesterday – quite fast I might add – and was nicely packed with the two bags of kelp meal intact. The quality of the bags they used seems quite good too, and should hold up for storage in case I don’t use all of the 8 lbs of product this year.
Finally, I received a thank you email from the supplier, and with an embedded video clip with the person I spoke with holding a phone that was flashing my name.
Oh, that’s cool, they have a standard “thank you” message and they programmed it to include my name in the thumbnail image.
No. That’s not what this was.
This was a 42 second thank you video which the person I spoke with – the owner of the company – leaving me a personalized message thanking me for my order and for being amenable to the changes.
I’m not easily impressed by “thanks for your order” emails and what-not, and have seen lots of different strategies. But a personalized video message?
The thank you video was the icing on the cake, on top of good pricing, fast shipping, fast communications, and an overall excellent shopping experience.
Rocky Mountain BioAg won’t be my exclusive supplier for all things related to veggie gardening or organic amendments, but they’ve certainly earned my continued attention and business.
They don’t carry everything I might need, but they do carry the brand of fish fertilizer and crab shell I like, and a lot of organic fertilizers and such.
This was an exemplary shopping experience, and I felt compelled to give them a shout out. If you’re looking at organic soil amendments and other such products, hopefully you’ll experience the same customer satisfaction that I have.