This week, 4,600 4.5″ and 5,000 6″ poinsettias have been trimmed. The 8″ and 10″ poinsettias are showing lots of new growth after their trimming.
Mums are shipping out – 2,641 mums are being delivered tomorrow; 2,486 are going to one customer alone.
Our team member Silvia has been making beautiful combo pots with a mixture of fall annuals with lots of colors.
2,000 kale have been planted in 4.5″ pots.
In the last 4 weeks, we have received 1,174,080 pansy/viola plugs. In a perfect world, we would have had everything planted by now, but delays due to soil machines breaking down, late deliveries of soil, and having all the pots have put us a little behind.
The majority of the 6in pots and trays arrived in July, but we found out 2 weeks ago that 40% of the trays had been back-ordered until November. We managed to track down some additional trays and pots – later in the season we will have some 6in pansies and violas in 6 count trays instead of 8 count trays. But we did get them!
80% of the 4in pots have been planted. About 68% of the 6in have been planted. Currently, there are 98 carts each with 40 trays of newly planted pots in our greenhouse waiting to be set down. This week the crew will be working hard to get the last 250,000 plants into their respective pots.
We hope to see some of the first crops of 4″ pansies ship to the stores this week.
The wholesale crew has been a little busy the last 2 weeks. 230,000 pansy/viola plugs have been planted into 4in pots, 172,900 planted into 6in pots, 2600 planted into hanging baskets, 9045 planted into 4.5in pots, and 7750 into 804 cell packs. Another 7560 plugs of ornamental kale and cabbage have been planted into 9in pots.
More than 100 carts were configured to hold 40 trays of pansies each. The carts get loaded with newly planted pots at the planting line, moved to the field or one of the greenhouses, and then unloaded. So far over 30,000 trays have been moved from the planting line and set down, which takes more than 750 carts to move those trays. When the plants grow a bit, all the carts will have to be reconfigured again with fewer shelves and more space in between.
While all this planting has been going on, the 8in and 10in poinsettias all got trimmed by hand. Every single plant was pinched back to promote additional branching. Since there are 3 plants in every 8in pot and 4 plants in every 10in pots, more than 10,000 plants were trimmed.
We also had 4000 unrooted cuttings arrive this past week that were stuck into plug trays. These will be part of our production for spring lantana.
It has been a busy 2 weeks, but we have another 2 (or more…) very busy planting weeks yet to go.
The last 2 weeks in wholesale may not have had the feeling of urgency we normally experience, but there was still lots going on. 5000 poinsettias were planted into 6.5″ pots, 4000 poinsettias were planted into 4.5″ pots, and another 1125 poinsettias were planted into hanging baskets (there are only 125 baskets, but each one takes 9 poinsettia plants). And finally – every pot is appropriately tagged.
Additionally, 2800 6″ pots of mums and 4000 4.5″ pots of mums were spaced and separated to allow them additional room to grow. Each tray now has half the number of pots they normally carry – every other space is empty. 9″ pots for kale/cabbage were filled with soil and set out along the big production field. So far over 3000 pots are prepped and ready – but that is less than half of what will be needed for the plugs arriving this week.
Pots have also been getting prepped for pansy/viola planting. Right now there are 28 pallets of 4in pots stacked in trays in the production area. Each pallet has approximately 160 trays – giving us over 80,000 pots ready to go. However, we will need more than 110,000 pots for the first round of plugs arriving this week.
While greenhouses and the production area get cleaned and prepped for the fall planting about to start, the crew is still pulling landscape orders every day and shipping items to the stores. And there is always the watering to do.
We occasionally get asked when the “slow” season is for wholesale. After 20 years, we’re still wondering just when we might get a slow season……
Notice that subtle leaf yellowing, followed by leaves flagging or curling downward, giving the appearance that the plants need to be watered…? The North American market was severely impacted this past season with Impatiens Downy Mildew, caused by the fungus-like pathogen Plasmopara obducens. In all my years as a gardener, grower, seed salesmen, and retail garden center owner, I have never experienced such a devastating disease hit our industry so rapidly in basically one season.
This downy mildew affects Impatiens walleriana; yes the standard bedding plant we all love and have had so much success with and endless colors in our gardens for many, many years. This mildew will also affect other walleriana impatiens such as double-flowered, mini-impatiens, Fusion and Butterfly.
To give you some background, this disease thrives in moist or humid conditions, new infections will occur when there is a thin film of moisture on leaf surfaces for a few hours. Splashing water, rain, overhead irrigation, crowded plant spacing and cool nights will encourage disease development. The “really bad news”, once infected, your plants will not recover. Yellowing, stunting, curling downward foliage are early signs of Downy Mildew. Now take a closer look under the leaves- if you find white sporulation on the undersurface of leaves, you have Downy Mildew. If found, get your trash bags out; entirely remove and dispose of infected plants (yes roots too) immediately! As they say, bag it! Don’t compost, you need to put out with the trash in a SEALED plastic bag. What happens if you leave affected plants in your garden? Eventually the leaves and flowers will drop, resulting in bare stems with only a few tiny, yellow leaves. The problem with leaving plants in until they collapse is the spores, called oospores they may survive in the plant debris and be released into the soil as the stems decay. These resting spores can potentially survive in the soil for a period of years.
My professional opinion, (as much as I hate to say it) don’t plant Impatiens walleriana this year. Let’s make this spring, the spring of 2013, the year of new plant opportunities! Expand your plant pallet, create a new look in your garden, try the plants you have always wanted to try but were too afraid to give up your beloved Impatiens.
Begonias are an easy replacement for Impatiens. If you have not tried ‘Dragon Wing’, ‘Big’ or the ‘Whopper’ begonias, you are missing some great garden workhorses that go all summer long. Keep in mind these begonias get BIG and you should space a minimum of 18”apart. (don’t worry, they will fill in quickly!). Other suggestions ‘Fibrous’, ‘Rieger’, ‘Tuberous’ begonias, ‘Caladiums’, ‘Coleus’, ‘Ferns’, ‘Sweet Potato’, Iresene ‘Blazen Rose’ to name a few and if you really like the Impatiens “look”, New Guinea Impatiens might be right for you.
And if you just can’t do without your Impatiens, please visit with us to give you a few tips that may help your Impatiens survive this summer. (Remember if you had any signs last year, don’t plant Impatiens this year).
Ray Greenstreet, President
Greenstreet Gardens of Virginia
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