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Friday, March 13, 2009

Making plant babies!

This is one of my favorite times of year in the greenhouse. The sun shines through the darkest of days... giving a little bit of the needed boost of Vitamin D and warmth to the days.

We start with putting seeds in propagation sheets with tiny cells (about 120-210) filled with dirt. The seeds get misted until they are very moist, then covered with plastic sheeting, and put them under the grow lights. The grow lights are on a timer to increase the length of the day. The heat in the greenhouse is steam heat... I keep it at 75 degrees F during the week and turn it down on the Friday. Why? Because that way, I just have to come in on Sunday afternoon to water the plants.

This picture was taken earlier this week and things have grown a bit since but it gives a general idea of the progression from under plastic and the grow lights to out in the open. You can see the tiny cells of the propagation sheets and the baby herbs. In modern greenhouses, most of this is mechanized now... but when you have many hands to help do the work, machinery just means that someone is out of a paid work assignment.

Once a week, I have been receiving boxes from various growers of plugs. The plugs shown on the table to the left are grown up babies in the propagation sheets. Here is a small samplings of New Guinea Impatiens... with respective labels. So far this season we have received one tray of: Landscaping Begonias in 3 colors-red, white, and pink; Campanula, Delphinium, Coleus in 2 varieties-Red Wizard and Golden Pineapple; Impatiens in 2 colors-pink and white; Juncus Spirale, Zebra Grass, Red feather, Geraniums in 3 colors-red, white, pink, and the New Guinea Impatients in 3 colors-Pink Frost, Electric Orange, and Cherry Rose (2 trays). We also got Gallardia (2 trays), Penstemon Red, 2 trays of Coral Bells.

The issues that we have been working on have been mostly issues of following directions. I get my referrals from the Homeless Dom and also Dual Diagnosis programs. Most of the issues come from the patients not wanting to follow instructions and not admitting that they don't know what to do. This season, we have had a few mishaps with mislabeling, not accepting constructive criticism, and feelings of superiority that cause a failure to follow instructions.

Sometimes, I am so thankful that plants don't talk. I am sure if they could, the stories they would tell!

It is fun to watch these plant babies morph!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I am in love with your greenhouse. I want one. I have also been wanting to ask (I will probably do a blog so I can pool the collective mind of readers) how to best start seeds inside my apartment!