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.

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