Friday, March 21, 2014

Greenhouse Opening Marks the First Day of Spring

by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener
Peppers begin their journey to seedling then plant
What better sign of the first day spring than the Master Gardener greenhouse up and running? With the Annual Plant Sale just eight weeks away, the cycle of life begins for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, flowers and herbs.
Heavy fleece jackets and sweat shirts came off as greenhouse team members generated their own heat in the controlled warmth of the greenhouse on March 20.  Lead by Juanita Kauffman, title yet undecided, everyone was busy beginning with the quick review of the day’s activities.
Barb Petrucci searches for Garden Peach tomato labels
 Seed starting trays were filled and passed on to planting teams. In recycling mode, many plant labels were sorted out from last year’s batch and matched up to their trays.
Tom Reeder refills the planting mix as Diane Keeney plants
Jane Birt & Ruth Young seeding a tray
The seeds were carefully matched to their labels and were dropped into the trays.
Bill Dorman and Diane Keeney match seeds to labels
After covering them lightly with planting mix they were watered.
Don Knode covers seed with planning mix
Some were set on heating pads to speed up germination.
Juanita Kauffman places trays on heating pads
The timing for planting is geared so plants will be ready for transplanting in our area at the time of the Plant Sale, scheduled this year for May 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Customers are advised to come early and bring their own carts or wagons.

This year’s sale promises a wide variety of plants started in the greenhouse. Many are unusual or heirloom varieties not typically found in local garden centers or nurseries. Another unique feature of the Plant Sale is the locally grown plants donated from Master Gardener landscapes.

Not all of the greenhouse team is shown here. After last week's clean-up and today's planting, their work is only starting - daily watering, transplanting and nurturing this year's crops.

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