Friday, March 13, 2009

Where do those plants come from?

This time of year, it's easy to know what each day brings in terms of greenhouse work - potting!

We produce plants three ways - seedlings, which I grow, divisions from stock plants that we hold over winter, and rooted cuttings, which I buy and then pot. The cuttings come in a couple small orders and two larger orders. Once they arrive, I start with the smallest sizes and continue potting madly until they're all done. Some go quickly, others take longer because they must be cleaned or trimmed - always want the plants to look nice.

Seedlings are spaced out more evenly', I first plant seeds in January and continue weekly until the beginning of April. So there's a batch or two per week, depending on how quickly they germinate and mature. Sometimes I have to encourage them, if they're slow to pop through. Basils germinate in 2-3 days, while some perennials take several weeks. Right now, I'm waiting for the pokey angelica - it's started to germinate, but it's slow and spotty. The tiny seedlings are very individual. Some are tall, like fennel, the gomprena has red coloring on the underside of the leaves, some leaves are round, some toothed and some are veined, I generally know the variety,just by the leaf, without looking at the tag.

We also hold over stock plants in the garden, bring them into the greenhouse to push growth and then divide them into smaller plants. This is a fragrant job, since the foliage and sometimes even the roots are aromatic.Some plants have really, tough roots and you must take a knife to them to divide them. But they're tough and they survive.

I've decided the only greenhouse job I really don't enjoy is moving plants around. They have to be moved to make room, rotate stock, move from stock area to sales area, etc. But it's just not as much fun as the rest.

Friday, March 6, 2009

White outside, but green inside!

I'm thinking about our recent brush with winter as I write this.

Last week, the "glancing blow" that was supposed to give us a couple inches of snow dumped the biggest snowfall of the season on us. We got 6-7" and then it blew all around! Although it was winter outside, it's spring in the greenhouse!

The week before, the first little plants arrived and now they have been transplanted along with all the seedlings that were ready to go. I've only filled a couple benches so far, but the sight and smells of fresh, green growing plants chases away the winter blues. As I pushed on the bottom of the packs to release the rootball, the fragrance of fresh lavender drifted up - just heavenly! I also transplanted what I consider to be the most fragrant lemon herb - lemon verbena.

Now we just have to keep them warm and cozy at night for the next couple of very cold nights and then temperatures should moderate and they will be well on their way.

Lucy just loves the snow. She considers it great fun to come along when we shovel snow away from the greenhouses (of course, she's playing and not shoveling.) She had a new toy, a football, to take along today and she loves chasing it. She's what is termed in the pet world an "aggressive chewer" meaning she'll chew on a toy until she destroys it. So far, the football has survived, but it's not as tough as the Konga toys which hold up very well.

The spring newsletter will be mailed in the next couple weeks and will also be posted here, so keep an eye out. Our spring class schedule - will be included with the newsletter. This year, we'll feature guest presenters, Maryanne and Tina, the soap ladies, for one of our classes. I'm also working on shop orders so the shop will be brimming with herbal goodies come April.

Next time-more on the potting frenzy that occurs this time of year.