Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another Busy Day in the Greenhouse

On Friday, I went to a wholesale greenhouse to pick up another shipment of young plants.  Below are some grasses:  There is Carex Red Rooster (a grass that stays a rusty brown), Stipa Ponytails, and Juncus Curly Wurly.  Also the plants for the Picasso Petunia.
And more grasses.  Pennisetum "Fireworks" in the Centre, as well as many others, including Papyrus.
Colorful:  Almost black Ipomea (Sweet Potato Vine--Blackie), and Lime Green Ipomea (Sweet Potato Vine--Marguerite), also a beautiful fuchsia colored grass-like plant called Rhoea.
The million bells (Calibrachoa)  are filling out nicely--transplanted on Tuesday.
The begonias are happy in their large pots.  They look mouldy, but they aren't--just a silvery light reflection that the camera picked up.
Just a few more of the plants to be transplanted tomorrow:  Chrysanthmums, Million Bells, Osteospermum, Bacopa, Verbena, Lotus Vine, Vinca Vine, Bidens......
Tonight we set the clock ahead, so early to bed, to get at the rest of the transplants.  Monday, March 15, is the heaviest seeding date of the whole season.  It'll be a pleasure to see the little plants in a few weeks.

Our old grand-dog, Tundra, a German shepherd, whom our son, Kubota Man Jr. retired to the farm, has a knack of always being under my feet in the greenhouse.  We're learning to work around each other.  This has made me aware of how observant our own dogs are--when they hear my footsteps, they look where I will be walking, and walk beside, not in front of, me.  Tundra will learn, too.

Gardening hints: 
1.  Always freeze your cucurbit (cucumber, pumpkin, zucchini, melons, etc) type seeds over night before planting.  You will have excellent germination and the sprouts will be much more vigorous.  We have tested this ourselves.
2.  Tomatoes like to be transplanted deeper than they were growing before--they will root all along the buried stems.  BUT Peppers need to be transplanted at the same soil line as before.  They do not like to be planted deeper.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What Were You Doing During the Olympics?

Greenhouse Work starts on or about Feb. 15 at our house.  We're a small, Mom&Pop operation, with only 2 pairs of hands, and no hired help.  We operate about 6000 square feet of greenhouses under plastic, and perennials, vegetables, and trees and shrubs outside (later in the season).  This is where it all began:These benches had been cleaned after the greenhouse season last year.  These weeds grew throughout the summer and went to seed, and I didn't set foot in the greenhouse till last week.  These weeds are all amaranth (red-root pigweed) and wild buckwheat, so I carefully gathered most of the seeds, and fed them to the sheep.  They were happy little sheep.

These are our cabinets for the labels and tags.  I had these all mostly cleaned up and sorted last summer, but our Indomitable Greenhouse Guards (see next picture) had a chasing game with the dogs (who are able to jump onto the benches) and several cabinets fell over, and then the critters played a slip-and -slide game on the spilled tags, so I had to sort them all again. 

The indomitable Greenhouse Guards!

Everything is tidy, ready to set up.  Notice the bags of special growing medium that we use.  No soil in this mix.  It is a professional mix that we have trucked in from Northern Alberta.

Many years ago, we built the benches of plywood.  It has buckled and shifted from the weight and the moisture, and has had many a hole drilled to drain off pools of water.  Now, to even the surface, we use webbed flats upside-down to hold our trays, these allow air circulation and drainage. 
All set to go!

Some plants have arrived.  In the back the little Dracaena (spikes) are visible.  In the foreground are the young Martha Washington Geraniums--all 256 of them.   Arrived Friday afternoon at 2:00, all transplanted by 3:30--Kubota Man had the pots all filled and ready.
Here are two of the little plants:

And here's more work of nimble fingers:  The first cuttings made from stock plants which I wintered in the house:  spider plants, cuban oregano, stinky plant (a plectranthus that smells like skunk and is reputed to keep cats away), creeping rosemary, chocolate mint, a pink scaevola, and Alternanthera Royal Tapestry.

Kelsae Onion Seeds--they are treated with a blue fungicide so the seedlings don't dampen off.  Each pack has 3 rows with 20+ seeds, counted and placed by hand.
Many flats of seeded onions. 
Pepper seeds--each one in its own cell-406 cells per tray.  All neatly hand-placed.
And some of the fruits of the last 2 weeks' labor:
Baby Pansies
Tiny herbs
Little Tumbler tomatoes--one of these plants will fill a 12" hanging basket and have red tomatoes by May 24th.
This evening I also wrote a 750+word article on Pruning Fruit Trees, for the local paper.
Now I'll go upstairs to work on the Angel Christmas Tree Skirt (see my other blog), then early to bed-- there are petunias and lobelias and marigolds waiting to be seeded tomorrow.  Later this week Iwill pick up all our zonal geranium cuttings, then another day this week, our perennial roots and bare-root strawberries are scheduled to arrive from British Columbia.