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I'm new to this part of the Dave's Garden forum (though I've been part of the community for a few years), so...hello!
I thought I'd share a link to the blog entry I posted yesterday. It's a little photo tour of a large commercial greenhouse's behind-the-scenes production and springtime preparations. This greenhouse will sell tens of thousands of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, shrubs and a few trees come early spring. It was interesting to see how they handle their plants quickly and efficiently (and roughly!)
Thanks, all! Carrie, yes--it smelled amazing in the greenhouses, especially the annual area where they were busy potting up the plugs. Most people as they walked in during the tour took a big breath, and a few said, "Oh, it smells like spring!"
Art, Ebert's is definitely worth a visit in the spring and perhaps in the fall if you like fall annuals. It's a huge operation (the photos don't do it justice) and very nicely laid out and landscaped. They have a very professional and friendly staff, too. I've never had a bad experience there. In fact, I'm always amazed just how good it is. And their plants always do very well for me, too.
I sound like a commercial. But I've been a customer for years. I'm always there on opening day if it's not raining...and sometimes even if it is. They even provide complimentary umbrellas while you're strolling the grounds. :)
Very nice. I have always wondered about some of the "behind the scenes" work, but scared to ask. I honestly thought that the plants would be started by seeds, not plugs. That explains how they get it all done in time. Thanks so much for this.
Ebert's gets their plugs from large commercial growers like Walters Gardens in Michigan. They also said they get a lot of their perennials and shrubs from Holland, and had we had more time they would've told told us some interesting customs stories about orders not clearing customs and being shipped back to Holland, then back to the US...etc.
Now I'm curious about the behind-the-scenes stuff at a commercial grower, but...I'm not driving to Michigan and conning Walters out of a tour any time soon. ;)
I took some horticulture classes down at Gateway in Kenosha. In the bedding plants class we first seeded the flats, then later pulled the plugs and put in larger pots, just the way they were doing in your photos. After a while, we all thought we were lightning fast, but our instructor said he wouldn't hire any of us, that we were too slow!
Still, it was one of the best skills I've learned for gardening!
I really should have taken some video! I think it's hard to imagine how fast these people move until you've actually experienced it. But when you have tens of thousands of plugs to pot up I suppose time is precious.