These past several years, I've shown you lots and lots of plants. Herbs, vegetable plants, and lots and lots of flowers.
Have you ever wondered how the bedding plants, herbs and vegetable plants you might buy each spring get grown? I have, and today, I had the opportunity, with others, to take a "behind the scenes" tour at Nanticoke Gardens, outside of Endicott, New York.
Thank you to Broome County Cooperative Extension for hosting this Farm Tour. Nanticoke Gardens was one of the stops. The tours, if you are able to come, continue tomorrow.
Nanticoke Gardens grows almost everything they sell - but how do they do it? In short - it's a lot of work, and a lot of it, more than you might think, is done by hand. And, like so much of farming, it's a gamble - a gamble on the weather, a gamble on people's likes and dislikes, and a gamble on changing trends in what people in upstate New York want to grow.
The co owner of Nanticoke Gardens showed us parts of their operation where the public isn't normally allowed, and allowed me to take some pictures.
The plants they sell are propagated in several ways - seeds, unrooted cuttings, and rooted cuttings.
"reemay" row covers - which we have used ourselves in our gardening. The co owner demonstrated the automatic sprinklers for us.
it is a topic of some interest.
We watched a woman transplanting tiny seedlings, like these, into larger pots. Part of the work that is done by hand, I don't think I would have the patience to do hundreds of these at one time.
Fungicides must be used in commercial propagation. Where possible, Nanticoke Gardens uses a biological fungicide called T-22 to reduce their reliance on other fungicides.
Nanticoke Gardens is one of a small number of commercial nurseries still growing their own begonias. Many are now grown in the Southern United States. Begonias need a long growing season to get to selling size, and a lot of heat. These are started in November.
We were also told that the demand for herbs has been exploding the past four years or so, and they are increasing their supply of herbs. That's the one area I wish they would actually even have more available for sale, especially with scented geraniums and specialty basil. Maybe one year....
An interesting view "behind the scenes".