By Laura Mast
It’s that time of year again when everyone is thinking about the holiday’s and what they’re going to have for the meal and what gifts will be bought. It’s also the time of year in the greenhouse when we begin seeding for spring our early spring crop. That’s right! We start pansies during December so they are ready to sell and be planted in April for the first crop of the year.
The process of seeding the pansies are:
- First, you begin with a plug tray, at Kingwood we use 288 plug trays, this means there are 288 spaces to fill with seeds.
- Fill the plug tray with propagation soil. Propagation soil is what we use to start seeds in the greenhouse. Propagation is the better choice for starting seeds, because it’s a very fine substance with no barked added to it. This allows the young seedling roots to grow into the soil easier.
- The pansy seeds are then placed on top of the soil in the plug tray and are covered with a light coating of vermiculite. Vermiculite holds water, assuring the seeds don’t dry out. If the seeds dry out, there is a higher chance they will not sprout.
- Not all pansy seeds require covering; this is where you may have to do a little research. At Kingwood we also label all our seed trays so that there is no mix-up as to what seeds are in the plug trays, we grow around 97% of our plants here at Kingwood so things can get mixed up quickly if they are not labeled.
The seed trays are then placed on the misting bench. The mist will continue to keep the soil moist until the pansies begin to sprout. Once the pansies seeds begin sprouting they are then moved to another mist bench where the timer is set for longer intervals and will not be kept them as wet as the first mist bench; we will then continue to monitor them for continued growth while maintaining them disease and pest free.
After the pansies have what are called true leaves on them, they will then be transplanted into their final container where they will remain until ready for sale. We will also continue to grow the pansies that will be used for the spring annual display and containers throughout the grounds. I have posted a picture of the plug tray that we use at Kingwood.