This time of year, when Spring has barely made it's presence known, the greenhouse is an inspiring place. Warm sunshine falls on thriving green plants, and flats of sprouting seeds.
One small seed placed in the soil, one of thousands transforming into tiny, tender sprouts breaking through and unfurling in the light... after a long, cold, snowy winter like the one we've had, we're all waiting for a chance to branch out in the warmth!
We start our plants by seed, plug, or bare root transplant depending on the type of plant. Vegetables destined for the field are started from seed (tomatoes, peppers, brcooli, etc), as well as enthusiastic annuals (marigolds, allyssum, lobelia, for example) and perennials.
The photos below in the center and on the right show our broccoli seedings. Every two weeks, another crop will be transplanted into the field, giving us a constant supply of broccoli from June until November.
Most perennials that come in as plugs (young plants growing in trays) are planted in smaller quart pots. Delphinum, Columbine, and Dianthus are pictured below on the right, growing happily in quart containers. Look at that green!
All bare root transplants are put in gallon pots to give these large root masses plenty of room for an equally large plant. Some particularly vigorous plugs like hosta and helleborous are planted in larger gallon pots as well. Pictured to the left, for example, is Heleborous Ivory Prince with striking red stems and graceful, blue-green leaves.
Below on the left and in the center is Hosta Sum and Substance, one of the largest hostas on the market. It grew so well in the tray that they were impossible to pull out and we had to cut the tray to pieces! Look at all those roots. To keep them from becoming root bound, we sliced off a layer of the bottom of the roots. On the right is Pineapple Lilly, an exotic looking plant with long pointed leaves and a tall flower stalk.