A South Surrey woman is hoping to plant a lucrative seed in the minds of some of Canada’s top entrepreneurs next month.
Jennifer Pratt is gearing up to enter the Dragons’ Den on May 17, to pitch her solution for easy, plentiful gardening.
Her Seeding Square, she said Friday, grew from frustrations she and her husband, Karl, experienced as new gardeners.
“We kind of had a fun, yet colossal, mess when we first started,” Pratt said.
“We were in awe at what we kind of pulled off with this template.”
The Seeding Square is a colour-coded seed spacer that leaves no doubt as to how far apart to plant 46 varieties of fruits and vegetables, “from carrots to pumpkins,” Pratt said. Users simply press the template onto the soil, poke the appropriate holes with the included wand/spoon and funnel, and plant their seeds.
Essentially, it does the thinking for gardeners, optimizing yield and minimizing weeds, Pratt said.
“What we really try to do is just look back and reflect on what were our problems as new gardeners,” she said. “We just tried to come up with a solution, and I think we did a pretty good job. I had one grandma, she said she’s going to put it in her will. She was annoyed that it hadn’t been invented sooner.”
Pratt, 38, said since the Seeding Square went on the market three years ago, interest has grown, with nearly 15,000 units sold. (It’s available online, at seedingsquare.com, and in a variety of stores across B.C., Alberta and in the U.S. Locally, it’s sold in four Surrey locations: Potters,19158 48 Ave.; West Coast Floral Growers, 1420 172 St.; Newton Nursery Ltd., 12573 72 Ave.; and Port Kells Nurseries, 18730 88 Ave.).
It’s also in about 300 schools, and Pratt is in the midst of launching a school-fundraiser program with it.
“I have teachers buying them constantly,” she noted.
Pratt said the importance of teaching kids about growing food hit her while teaching in Alberta.
“It was a younger group, and I was teaching them seeds and growing,” Pratt said. “This one little kid, he was very insistent… carrots don’t come from the ground, they come from the grocery store.
“It was kind of a wow moment.”
Pratt said she hopes the Dragons can help her with marketing the Seeding Square, and she’s prepared to offer them 20 per cent of her business in exchange. While she’s not entirely new to business – “I’ve always been kind of entrepreneurial. My mom called me her rainbow-chaser,” she quipped – Pratt said she is hoping for “a strategic partner” to help her get to the next level and beyond.
She is not the only local resident called to the Dragons’ Den recently. This week, senior Norm Bradley is to pitch his Cabo Comfort sandals to the Dragons.
Pratt said she’s prepared for whatever happens during her encounter next month, including rejection.
“I just try to take life as, you win or you learn,” she said.
“If I go and they say no… I will take their whys and I will take that home and make it better.”