When David Tyler decided he wanted to enter the nursery business, he had no idea that he would create a destination for home-based growers, community organizations, and farmers from beyond Letcher County lines. Beginning in 2007, when local nursery owners George and Vera Hale retired and sold David two of their greenhouses, David entered the greenhouse and nursery business looking for a part time job that would have his hands busy, and better yet, in the dirt.
David’s Plant Place is the only plant place of its kind for many local growers, drawing folks from as far as Pike County who are looking for a variety of vegetables, both heirloom and hybrid. When it came to choosing varieties, David went with what he knew–the tomatoes, peppers, melons, herbs, and cole crops that folks in the area knew and loved. Sometimes he’ll try introducing a new crop, like the kohlrabi that has become a small seller after a couple years of gentle introduction. He stays in touch with what folks are growing and what they think about certain varieties. Thanks to local farmer Timothy Breeding of Rocket Farm, David switched over to the Jade Cross brussel sprout because the success Rocket Farm had with it, and now it’s the single brussel sprout variety he grows.
Well known at Plant Place is the variety of tomatoes available each year– this year a whopping 27, and a good mix of heirlooms and hybrids. The heirlooms are particularly special, a few of them from local farmers in the area, and whose seed David has to be sure to save each year for future seeding. The Old Yellow and Old Purple Tomatoes he sells both came from Linda Dicks, who lived at the mouth of Kingdom Come. The Big Red Cherry Tomato from Kale Hogg. Turkey Creek is another one, gifted to David from Noble Dixon who lived at Line Fork. Noble was a grower himself, and sold these red, determinate tomatoes that were loved for their delicious flavor. When he heard about David’s new venture with Plant Place, he gave him some seed, telling him that this would become his best selling tomato. Sure enough, Turkey Creek became David’s top seller for years, well known as not just a variety from right over there in Turkey Creek, but a flavorful one at that. It was only last year that Turkey Creek’s sales were topped by another, the hybrid Big Beef, whose continual production of big, juicy slicers has caught growers’ attention.