Question: The Golden State.
(Name the U.S. state!)
Here is an article I wrote for my sister’s Master Gardener group. I wanted to share it with you what we do in the off season in the greenhouse. Greenhouse grower what do I do in the later fall/winter months? This is Becky Kerndt Litterer from Becky’s Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa. I am Mary Kay Winke’s sister. I am starting now my 32nd year of greenhouse growing. It has been a job that I have learned on how to grow plants. I had my training as a Elementary Educator. But with the things that happened, my husband and I reopened up his business of Larry’s Garage and we were told to have something that is different to add to that. I love plants, I had my mom’s gardening that I love to watch her to do. We started off in buying plants from a Rockwell greenhouse and selling plants. When they wanted to sell the greenhouses, we started growing and learning how to do this. Now I am still at it for 32 years. I am still learning and trying new things which is good for you the gardener.
Many gardeners think that when the growing season is done, then I am done but that is far from the truth. We heat the one greenhouse in the winter, so we need to move plants in there that we want to keep over the winter. We will have plants in the unheated part of the greenhouses to keep them for the next garden season. We only heat 1/3 of the greenhouse, so plastic walls need to go up for that area to be heated.
When I am not working in the greenhouse, I am working on greenhouse stuff. Yearend bookwork to see how the year went. Inventory of plants and seeds to be done. I have a daily blog that I need to continue to post on Facebook and my website. The biggest project is ordering plant plugs and seeds for the next gardening season. Greenhouse growers usually use a broker to order their plugs thru. A plug tray could have 40 plants in a tray up to 500 plants in a tray. The broker puts in your order and when you wanted shipped from the grower. It is a good system as there are problems the broker can direct that. If you need something and it is up to the broker to find that plant thru their list of growers.
So here is an example of all what the process is. I am looking at trailing petunias. 8 different varieties of them.
• Easy Wave petunia and there are 25 different colors and combinations.
• Evening Scentsation ( this is the right spelling even though spell check doesn’t like it)
• Opera Supreme 9 different colors
• Shockwave 10 different colors
• Success 16 different colors
• Tidal Wave 5 different colors
• Trilogy 8 different colors
• Wave 5 different colors
I go thru each variety and look at the growing time, any comments about it and the success of this plant. Then I have decide what colors to get for each variety that I decided to grow. I have to decide what size tray to get them in the choices are 40 tray, 144 tray, 288 tray 512 tray. Ok when should I have them shipped to get them planted and growing the time before we open the greenhouse. This process must be done with every plant that I get shipped as a plug tray. In looking at my list I have 200 different kinds of plants to order in this process. Now I need to go the seeds that I plant and do the same thing with them.
After the orders are confirmed, I work on the planting book. With each variety, I need to decide what size container they are transplanted into. Do we make baskets? How many plugs go into each size basket? Do we make landscape pots with them? How many plugs are planted in them? Then comes the price I will charge the gardeners. I will look for information on growing the plants and put that in the planting book. If there are signs to go along with the specific plant, I will print those out.
It will be soon time for me to start the planting of these plugs and working in the greenhouse in Feb. Full production starts in March where I have several transplanters come and help. We transplant each by hand but for our operation that is the way to do it. I must decide where they will put the planted trays. Will it need full light so it goes on top of the rack, if can get by with more filtered light it can go on the bottom of the rack. We have always doubled deck the finished trays.
I have a story to tell. Several years ago, I was planting, and it was the end of March. Greenhouse was getting full of plants. I had a knock on the door as we have an old-fashioned barn door, and the door handle is hard to open. Push it ahead and then down. I went to the door and here was a representative from Proven Winners. She was checking to see I wasn’t illegally propagation their plants as all Proven Winners are patented. I was not so that was good. The fine is $1.00 per plant that was propagated, and they were destroyed. She said she has gone back the next year the grower has done it again. Her comment about the operation is you do it a different way that is for sure, but it looks like it works. Big company like Proven Winners coming to our small greenhouse really impressed me.
Order of plants plugs are in; seed order is in and wait now I must order all the plastic that the plants are planted in and the trays for growing. I can’t forget the potting mix to plant them in, and then the fertilizer. I forgot I need to order the labels that need to go into the container so you the gardener know what you are buying. Now I am ready to plant and that will be soon. There is nothing move rewarding to plant and watch how the plants grow with sunlight, heat, and water. For me it is a passion, and you will find that when you come to Becky’s Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
Answer: California I said Florida….