Q. I want to get in touch with you about an order. How do I do that?
A. The best way to contact us when making an order is to use the "customer comments" field at checkout. This puts your instructions (e.g. "Must receive by next week Thursday." "Move garbage can and place behind the green door." "Do not give me a paper catalog again!" "OK to charge more for shipping, I know I chose "seeds shipping" when I actually ordered plants, wishful thinking on my part!" "World Peas." "I remember you from hottubbing, have you managed to even out your tan this year?" etc. ) right on the order so that when we look at the order we can give you individual attention. If you call us (which of course you may do, our phone number is (541)846-6704) then we start asking you questions about your order number, or when you ordered and how, and frankly it is not particularly efficient, resembling a combination game of memory and 20 questions, without any party favors waiting. For you, you are thinking of one order, for us, we are searching through hundreds, which might have come to us electronically, in the mail, by phone, fax, or pony expresso. Use the "customer comments" field if at all possible. Everyone will benefit.
Q. I wanted to get gardening advice from you and when I called "customer service" they just read me the information from your website. What's up with that?
A. Customer service is not qualified to give gardening advice--please don't ask--customer service is composed of delightful local people who are experts at processing orders. If you want gardening advice we do have a free service for your convenience. Simply e-mail herbseed (at) horizonherbs.com with your question, and you will receive an informed response. Please keep questions concise. Answers, also, will be concise. Limit 3 e-mails per customer. After 2 e-mails, do not be surprised or offended to receive, along with our reply, the following text. "If you have further questions, please ask them carefully, because we do have a limit of 3 free gardening question e-mails per customer, and the next e-mail will fulfill that quota."
Q. How long do your seeds last in storage and how should I store them for later use?
A. In general dried medicinal herb seed (e.g. Astragalus, Echinacea, Motherwort) lasts 3 years in storage. A few species (e.g. Chamomile, Valerian) are shorter-lived and may give reduced germination after 12 months in storage. Store dried seeds in their paper packet in a lidded glass jar or sealed plastic bag in the refrigerater. Never, ever put our seeds in the freezer! Meanwhile, here's what we really think: Sow all the seeds in the packet at once (these are single serving packets) in the appropriate environment. For best results, sow soon after receipt. We change out our medicinal herb seed yearly to the new harvest, have a last seed in first seed out policy, and would think that if you need seed in a year's time it would make sense to order it then, not now! Fresh (undried) seed (e.g. cascara sagrada, Oregon Grape, Ginseng, Goldenseal) should be refrigerated to store although it is best planted immediately after reciept.
Q. I'm having trouble making an order online. What do I do now?
A. Call us at (541) 846-6704 and make your order over the phone, or mail in your order using the order forms from the paper catalog. Although some of us love a perilous path, and delight in hacking away the virtual brambles and vines that may block the way of online purchases, if the delight derived from problem solving turns into frustration, then . . . take a breath, smile bravely, and once the smile takes over your face, give us a call. We're here for you.
Q. How do you process payments and is it secure?
A. We use "Authorize.net" payment portal. They are the most secure way to proceed. We never see your credit card number, it is all encrypted and sent through the portal. Your card is charged immediately when you finalize your order. We do have some leeway in refunding all or part of the order if, for instance, you are in Canada and order tinctures, or in Greece and order fresh (undried) seeds that are not available for international shipment. We have set our security settings to "high." This means you have to present the ccv code for the card, the address must match, and certain ISP's including Russia and Vietnam are disallowed. If your card does not confirm, and it appears to be an order in good faith, we will contact you for further details, get the payment, and send the seeds.
Q. How fast do you ship out orders?
A. During most of the year we average a 3-day turnaround time. This means you get your stuff, on the average, 7 days after you make your order. Weekends, holidays, and especially the busy season (January through April) may slow the response time. For instance, at a spot-check in the peak season, on Feb 12, we were shipping orders from Feb 3. If you need your goods by a certain date please leave a note in the "customer comments" field at checkout, and we will do our best to meet the deadline. We heartily suggest ordering early in order to get your goods in plenty of time.
Q. Can I get RUSH service.
A. You can, and we will apply a $10.00 rush charge and use your shipment method of choice (FedEx, Express mail, UPS 2-day, etc.) Rush orders usually ship within 24 hours. Please call customer service at (541) 846-6704 to arrange for rush delivery.
Q. I ordered over $100.00 of seed packets and I'm a farm. Can I get wholesale?
A. Actually, we are already providing packets farm-direct to the end user at rock bottom prices. Horizon Herbs does have wholesale accounts--seed racks in stores--if you think you might qualify for this program, please contact us at wholesale(at)horizonherbs.com We define "wholesale" differently from "discount." Wholesale terms are for resellers that have brick and mortar stores and resell packets to the public. Folks looking for a discount can look into our seed sets, seed collections and bulk purchasing discounts (such as buying 6 comfrey roots instead of 1, or buying 3 plants instead of 1) all of which are nicely discounted.
Q. I ordered a goldenseal plant in April and received it in good shape. However, in July it died. Can I get a refund?
A. No. Goldenseal (and many other herbaceous perennials) has an aerial cycle and a dormant cycle. Just because the aerial parts died back does not mean the plant is dead. Check the roots and you will see that the root is still lively. Regrowth is in the spring. And, no, we do not give refunds or replacements on plants that die under your care. We guarantee receipt of a live plant and it is up to you to keep it alive. Here is a link to our TERMS OF BUSINESS.
Q. I ordered a goldenseal root, a baobab tree, 6 saffron bulbs, 7 packets of seeds, a copy of "Herbal Pearls," a package of rosemary, a bar of soap and a box of incense. How much is my shipping?
A. Baobab trees are marked with an asterisk (*) so the simple answer is, choose "Plants (with asterisk) or roots via priority mail" at checkout and the computer will show you your shipping before your card is charged. On our side, we are going to combine this order as best we can and get it to you as cohesively as possible. If roots, bulbs or trees are ordered out of season, they will be backordered and shipped in season. If we have trouble making the shipping dollars stretch, we'll contact you! We ship plants starting April 1, take a break during the very hot month of August, and stop shipping plants Dec 1. Please read and understand the shipping info below:
Please choose the appropriate shipping for your order. Choosing the appropriate shipping will ensure that your items arrive promptly! If you do not choose the appropriate shipping for your order, then we put your order to the side and start trying to contact you to let you know what the actual charges are, you may experience 2 charges on your credit card, there will be a delay in shipping your order, in other words, it's a mess! So please, please choose your shipping carefully according to these directions:
If ordering seed packets only, choose "Seed packets only." If ordering pounds of seeds, books, herbs, incense, tinctures or other things, choose "Lbs, books and things." If your order contains plants, here is how to choose the correct option: If your order contains EVEN ONE tall plant (not marked with an asterisk), then if you are in the Western States (WA, OR, CA, MT, ID, UT, AZ, ND, WY, CO) choose "Tall plants to Western States via UPS ground." If your order contains a tall plant and you are in the Central or Eastern States then choose "Tall plants to Eastern States via UPS 3-day." If your order contains ANY roots or ONLY short *plants (marked with an asterisk), then choose "Plants (with asterisk) or roots via priority mail." If your order contains roots, or tall plants, or plants with an asterisk, AS WELL AS seed packets, pounds of seeds, books, herbs, incense, tinctures or other things, then choose PLANTS shipping. If your order contains short plants and tall plants then you have to choose shipping for tall plants. If you are an international customer (outside the United States) then please choose the appropriate international shipping options. We do not ship roots, plants or tinctures outside the US.
Q. What's the difference between true comfrey and russian comfrey?
A. True Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is an open pollinated type that originates in Europe. It has white to purple flowers (our type has dark purple flowers) hollow stems, prickly leaves and a dark brown to black taproot that is filled with mucilage. It makes viable seeds. Russian Comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) is a hybrid cross between the russian plant Symphytum asperrimum and Symphytum officinale. It has pale violet flowers, makes long, broad leaves, and has a brown taproot that is filled with mucilage. It is sterile and spreads only when its root system is disturbed or if it is dug up and propagated by root division. Both types of comfrey are useful in herbal medicine, veterinary medicine, as an animal food, in composting, and in permaculture. To split hairs, true comfrey is probably a little better to use in human medicine, and russian comfrey is probably a little better to use as animal feed and in compost making. FDA has issued warnings that these plants should not be taken internally, due to presence of Pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Both these types of comfrey contain the cell proliferant molecule known as allantoin as well as pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Extended use of these plants is not recommended--they are best used in human medicine as treatment for acute symptoms, not as a tonic. And, neither type is appropriate for use during pregnancy.
Q. My Ashitaba plant grew great this year but now its getting leggy and making flowers. I never harvested the leaves. Is my plant going to die?
A. More on how to harvest, consume, and collect seed from ashitaba: The young plant is going to keep making leaves from the center of the crown or stalk. As these leaves mature they begin to go yellow and die back, with new green leaves coming on from the central growth points. The mature leaves are best harvested and used before they get rubbery. Eat the fresh stems daily. Eat the leaves, too, if you like. Or, dry the leaves and make them into tea or tincture (1:4 50%A 50%W). The plant is monocarpic--it is going to grow and make leaves on an ongoing basis until it flowers, and after making its seeds, it is going to die. If you want to keep the plant for another growing cycle, cut back the tops as they begin to bud and the plant will probably go back to vegetative production (stop making flowers). If not allowed to make flowers, it will probably overwinter and give another burst of production the next year. Bring in for the winter in zones 6 and colder, otherwise mulch the crown and look for emergence of new growth in spring. If you let the plant go to flower and want to harvest seeds, be aware that the plant takes about 3 months to produce mature seeds. Wait until the seeds start to turn brown and begin to split apart. At this point you can harvest the umbel, dry it in the shade, and gently tease the seeds apart, freeing them from chaff. Store in cool, dry shade (in a paper packet in a sealed glass jar in the fridge, or in a dark cabinet) for the winter, and plant in the spring.
Q. Why don't you sell Anchusa officinalis, Goat's Rue, Poison Hemlock, Woad or White Bryony anymore?
A. These are all listed as noxious weeds by Federal or Oregon State Department of Agriculture, and they have stepped in to disallow us from selling seeds or plants of these herbs. We're very sorry about that!
Q. What is the difference between the wording "organic" and "certified organically grown" on your website?
A. None, anything that has the word "organic" or "organically grown" in the description is certified organic by Oregon Tilth and is NOS compliant.
Q. Are all of your seeds and plants certified organically grown?
A. No, but everything we grow ourselves is certified organic, and we are organically certified processors, which means we can buy organic seed from other growers and sell it as organic. On the whole, organic is our focus, and with a very few exceptions all of our nursery plants and trees are organic, and the majority of the seed we offer is grown by us and organically certified. Any wild carafted or commercial seed we do carry is guaranteed to be untreated (in other words not dipped in some wierd fungicidal or insecticidal chemical) and open pollinated (in other words not a hybrid type), and definitely not GMO'd (genetically modified). We do carry one hybrid in the catalog, which is russian comfrey.
Q. Are all your seeds heirlooms?
A. Not really. Heirloom generally means an old-timey type that has been handed down from generation to generation. Many of our seeds do fit this definition, but many are wild plants that have been recently domesticated (not heirlooms). We would rather focus on OPEN POLLINATED plants (seed saver friendly), organic, untreated, no GMO's, and LOVE.
Q. What do I do if my plant is broken in transit?
A. Please read the literature that comes with your shipment. The appearance of plants after flying across the states for a week in a dark priority mail box can often be very different from the way the plant looked when we pulled it from the nursery. Please understand that mishandling in transit is an unavoidable risk that begs patience on the part of all parties. To work with a damaged plant, cut it back to just below the break, pot it up to a gallon pot, water it and love it until it comes back in all its full glory. Potted plants are for the most part all about the root, and although we understand the disappointment that may be caused by loss of aerial portions, please roll with it and take care of the plant first thing. Don't call us or take pictures of a damaged stem, just take care of the plant. If for some reason the plant doesn't make it, let us know and we'll send you a voucher for the value of the plant, good against future orders. If you would like a free replacement plant, you will be responsible for shipping charges.
Q. Do you ship international packages by sea?
A. No, we ship international packages by air mail.
Q. I planted your Echinacea (or pepper, or calendula, or ashitaba, or what have you) seeds and I got purslane instead. What's up?
A. Please rest assured that we properly package and label our seeds. If it was purslane seed (very tiny seeds) instead of Echinacea seed (larger, very characteristic shape) from the start, don't you think you would have noted this during planting? Sometimes people think we sent them the common weeds that germinate quickly after planting, but these common weed seeds were already there in the soil. The seeds that you purposefully plant are often slower germinating flowers, but they are worth the wait! We have a 3 point GMP verification system to make sure that seeds are not mislabeled. If you truly believe you got nongermination on a packet, and the appropriate germination time has passed, just call or e-mail us and let us know, and in most cases we'll immediately send you a free one time replacement, no questions asked. There are a few rare varieties (e.g. Mandrake) that are not guaranteed and which we will not replace. This is noted in the catalog. All of our seed is germ tested. All of our seed is viable. One of the challenges involved with carrying a lot of wild type seeds and unusual or rare plant seeds is--difficulty in germination. So please, work on the planting method, prepare the right environment, and excercise patience and faith. It matters.
Q. Do you make the "Herb Pharm" tinctures that you sell?
A. No, Herb Pharm is an herbal manufacturer that operates in the same town where we live. Richo was the production manager at Herb Pharm for 11 years and helped develop many of their formulas, and wrote their "good manufacturing practices" which help assure that their products are correctly identified, potent, and of highest quality. When you order a tincture from us, we go to Herb Pharm and pick it up (fresher than what you can get from a store), and pack it and send it to you. We sell herb Pharm products at a 5% discount from the regular retail price.
Q. Do you manufacture your own herb drying screens and seed cleaning screens?
A. Yes, and we love this aspect of what we do. Tools for sustainability, that's what its all about!
Q. Do you grow the dried herbs that you sell?
A. Yes, and they are organically certified, hand picked, dried and packaged with great care. We really love growing and selling dried herbs, although it is a very small part of what we do. We make sure that the herbs we sell are extraordinary. Such things as dried Comfrey, Hawthorn Berries, Elderberries, Rosemary, etc.--all these things are grown and processed right here. We also sell spices (Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Cloves, Vanilla, etc.), which are grown in Pemba by people we know and trust. Talk about "fair trade," this is a situation where roots organic farmers are selling their stuff to a reseller who gives them WAY more profit margin than they could get anywhere else. We really enjoy supporting them. We've shortened the supply chain to give everybody a better deal. We also sell "Herbs India" dried herbs which are really great. The "Tulsi Tea" they produce is something we put into our bodies every day, and frankly we recommend that everybody else do this, as well. Its because we want you to be whole. Anyway, such things as "triphala" formula, Neem leaf, Shatavari, etc. are not realistic for us to grow here, and Herbs India does a great job, organic, and at a very reasonable price. I've always thought any enterprising local tincture manufacturer could make a living simply by reconstituting the Herbs India herbs in alcohol.
Q. I have a terrible cold. Can you recommend something for me to take?
A. Sorry, no, we cannot give medical advice. We can talk about herbs and what they do, we can relate the folklore, we can site recent scientific studies, we can talk about our own experiences with herbs, but we are not doctors, herbal or otherwise. Please consult your health professional for any medical needs.
Q. Do you offer an herbal apprenticeship program, work trades or internships?
A. Sorry, no, our primary focus here is to grow seeds and plants and disseminate them to the people. We have tried apprenticeships in the past, and this shifts our emphasis to educational, and we no longer offer apprenticeships. The "Herb Pharm Herbaculture" program is a nearby apprentice program in growing, utilizing and understanding medicinal herb farming and use of medicinal herbs in a pragmatic framework. We recommend that program, and there are many other educational entities out there these days, as well. Bastyr. NCNM.
Q. Can I come by for a tour?
A. Our first allegiance is to mail order customers who have ordered and are expecting their goods to be shipped in good time. If you plan to be in this neck of the woods and want to pick up an order, please call us at (541) 846-6704 to make arrangements. We have 2 private farms for production of our seeds and nursery stock. We don't give tours although you may be able to walk some of the gardens when you pick up your goods. Please make inquiry when you call.
Q. What is the shipping on a packet of Chinese Balsam seeds sent to Chechnya?
Q. What is it with the mouse?
A. Cheesie is our mascot. She was a real mouse that exhibited extraordinary abilities who met an untimely end when a vet overanaesthetized her on the operating table (she had developed a tumour), and has been immortalized by Sena, the "Mouse Picasso." The first cheesie illustration ocurred in pencil on the moulding of Sena's upstairs loft bedroom. Instead of scolding her, we encouraged her to do more. It was one of those Y's in the road that could have dumped the kid into the pond of frozz, but instead led her to a cliff among the clouds, and then--she flew! Like most mice, Cheesie has spawned many generations of offspring, and you can follow their exploits in the catalog and in our books. There are often subtle (or not so subtle) story lines involved, which are thematic or in some way reflect actual life experiences of various members of our family or work team. Illustrations are drawn with fierce speed by a steady hand. Long live Cheesie the Mouse! En garde!