|Guest written by Intern Jane|
A major milestone has passed! The plant sale is what we have been preparing for for months, and marks the beginning of the growing season. The seeds we planted over the past months are finally ready to be put into the ground. But if you read the previous greenhouse post, you know that this is the middle of a long journey that began in January.
Over the past month everyone at Bounty has been in the next phase of greenhouse work. We have been taking small, but sturdy seedlings out of their crowded quarters and transplanting them into larger pots of their own. This delicate and nerve wracking process is called “potting up”.
I began my first experience potting up with great excitement, because I love learning new techniques. But I quickly grew somber when I had to cut through the roots of thriving seedlings and pull them apart from their neighbors. It seemed impossible to survive, and I couldn’t bear the thought of killing these young plants that we had so carefully nurtured for so many weeks.
Still, I persevered and had faith in what Reyna and Suzie told us. I felt like I was moving desperately slowly, extracting each seedling, ensuring the hole in its future home was large enough to accommodate its expansive roots, and tucking it in with soil.
After you gingerly introduce each plant to its new pot, you water them in. This is where I lost a little faith each time. No matter how gentle the stream, water always batters the seedlings a little. Right after potting up, each tray looked a bit sad and limp, and was placed in a protected low light area to recover.
Despite my trepidation, when I glanced back at the mounting trays of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and so much more, most if not all of the seedlings were perky and larger than ever. They had truly outgrown their space, and needed to be potted up. Once the plants got their roots intertwined in the new soil, the seedlings stood tall and proud, ready to drink in sunlight and water and outgrow their new homes once more.
So, when the plant sale rolled around, the farm was bursting with plants practically hopping out of their containers into the fields nearby. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that a single seed carefully dropped into soil midwinter is now a cherished plant in someone’s home. For the farm, the greenhouse is winding down, and we look to the fields.