The Latest Happenings at Blue River

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Over the past 9 years it seems like we have always been building something around here. I have often said we were done, no more! But really, I think we are done for awhile. Building things is messy work. It’s hard to stay organized when you are trying to run a business with dirt as your foundation and nicely build something at the same time. Now that we are done we can once again we can fully concentrate on what we do best, grow plants.

In December when things finally calmed down with landscaping we started cleaning out Greenhouse 5. There had been a cacophony of Juniperus ‘Daub’s Frosted’ and Thuja plicata ‘Green Giant’amongst other things I had been holding onto for some unknown reason. Older nurserymen often say, “The stupidest thing a nurseryman can do is not throw plants away”. Maybe compost them might be a better way to put it now days. Our compost pile has grown as of late.

Greenhouse 5 is worth going out to walk through once again. Unfortunately, it has not been worth the walk in a couple years. We used to grow the new perennials out there and it worked great. Its a great grow house. However, it is the farthest out of all the greenhouses, as a result of the walk it was a bear to bring plants up front from way back at 5 all the time to display in the front of the nursery, inefficient as they say. I encourage you to head out and check it out the next time you are at the nursery, tthere is an amazing collection of conifers out there!

Greenhouse 1 was the greenhouse we always dabbled in propagation in. This year we are dedicating it to growing plants, in particular our 4″ perennials. Greenhouse 1 is perfect for this because it has tables the plants can rest on that have bottom heat which can raise the temperature of the soil. This makes the plants grow much quicker than if you do not have bottom heat. The raised tables are three feet above the ground will facilitate a much more pleasurable shopping experience; now you will not have to bend over or stoop down to get to those little plants.

Greenhouse 4 was another house that was lost for a long time. No more plants in there anymore. Maybe we will call it ‘creation station’or something, which amounts to a dry work or project area. Dry is good around here. Since there is a bunch of irrigation parts that we will not need anymore we will repurpose them in another greenhouse like G 1 or 3?

You may ask no plants in 4, What’s going on? Over the past 10 years we have been putting a pot in pot growing system in to actually get the plants outside to grow. We heat our houses and although we love Todd and Joe at Hoosier Propane we hate the propane bill! It drives the cost of plants up which is not a option here. For the past 10 years we have maintained the same prices on our locally grown plants. We have done this by squeezing inefficiency and waste out of our growing operation wherever we see it. Some things need to be produced in a heated house there is no doubt. Like perennials, they just grow better early in the season in a house. The conifers, however, need to be outside because our irrigation water has a lot of iron in it and it can actually temporarily stain the foliage of a plant. In the pot in pot set up there is no overhead irrigation therefore no staining! As a result more conifers will be going outside and deciduous plants will come out of pot in pot and go in a heated house.

Another thing we will be doing this year is increasing the treatment we do to the water to get the iron out. When the torch was passed from father to son 9 years ago so was a low estimate for how much to treat the water around here. Now almost a decade later we have inquired about increasing the treatment and we were given the green light to do so. Less orange, more green in 2013!

If you get the impression that we just move plants around a lot here at the nursery you are correct. To grow a good plant it seems as though it must move 3-4-5-6 times over its entire stay at the nursery. We have tried to eliminate the moving over the past few years and we have been somewhat successful at it. Pot in pot has helped a lot in this regard. There is one or two more areas I want to convert to pot in pot, uh I mean we are done.

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