Folks have the fever! The Spring Fever (not the flu, sorry, bad taste?).
The flower shoppe was busy today, lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers found homes today along with some herbs like basil and chamomile. I am quite pleased and hope to find homes for most if not all the plants that we grew in the greenhouse. Each year, I learn more and more about this field of growing plants for others. I have learned that there are nasty greenhouse bugs that like to bite certain plants...and not all plants, just some. Those nasty bugs are the bane of my existence since I am trying to have an organic greenhouse...no pesticides.
Also due to the increase in activities, we had a discussion about how Horticulture Therapy is different from the other work therapy assignments at the Medical Center. First, HT is a vocational program where activity and productivity are paramount. Second, we are a program where the work of the veterans is necessary to complete the mission as I am no longer to be as physically oriented as I once was outside. Finally, the Flower Shoppe is a retail program that lives year to year because it does not fall in the red and offers some return on the money.
The last item is always a cause for commotion because when you only make $1.00 on a plant, when the veterans wipe out a tray of plants... the potential to bottom out quickly becomes a painful reality. My biggest problem lately is the issue of watering. Some plants have died because they were not watered. Other plants are being bitten to death by fungus gnats because their soil is too wet. ARGH!
We also had a discussion regarding priorities regarding taking time off. Although my program is not considered 'gainful employment', I expect the veterans to act as if it was real employment. Attendance and punctuality are one of the first issues that we discuss when a veteran enters the program. We discussed at our last meeting how it feels when folks take extra time off to do personal tasks. For example, moving off campus or to transitional housing. Off campus for most individuals means moving into a shelter or renting a room. Transitional Housing means living in one of the two per diem programs at the Medical Center. Mind you, when they take the day off, they don't get paid for that day off. However, some of the veterans push the limit on how many days or appointments they are going to take to the point that I have to ask them, which do you want to do ... your appointments or work therapy?
It's all about trying to help folks re-enter the workforce with the right attitude and right set of work ethic. Just mumbling about a few pitfalls...