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Orie’s Acre

IMG_4965I can remember my grandfather Orie in wearing those bib overalls working in the greenhouse like it was yesterday. Grandpa was a master at propagation of our spring bedding plants. I specifically remember him taking cuttings of Santolina, a grey leafed, shrubby annual that was a staple in our plant offerings of the 60’s and 70’s. Originally Orie obtained a few cuttings from the ‘W’ hill. Who remembers that? Joseph’s Coat was another colorful annual bedding plant that he loved to propagate by cuttings in the winter time. By using either perlite or sand, depending on the crop, he would carefully make a slice through the media with a small concrete trowel, dipping each cutting carefully in rooting powder and into the media. As young boys we’d watch grandpa like it was magic when the cuttings became plants.

He also started many of our spring plants from seed. Again, he would use tried and true methods and materials that he found to work best for each crop. Maybe it was starting seeds in perlite, peatmoss or sand. Some seeds wanted bottom heat for faster germination, others didn’t require it. He knew which method was best, and had them perfectly timed as timing was, and still is, important for each crop. A good rule of thumb is giving the plants about 8 weeks from seeding to planting outside.
I remember back in the day, dad and grandpa used wooden flats for holding the peat pots for bedding plants. I’m not sure, but my guess is that they had a friend that had a wood shop in the back yard that made the wooden flats one by one. It was old school growing for sure. Wooden plant stakes stamped one by one to identify each plant. No plastic used back then. Check here for how we mixed our special soil used in the production of our bedding plants.

Many things are still the same today as they were years ago when Orie was growing plants. We still seed many of our own seedlings, and timing is still important. Today we use a professional seed starting mix for most all of our crops. It would be nice to be able to work with wooden flats and pot labels, but plastic flats, pots and tags have their advantages.

If you are thinking about getting seeds started for your Acre, now is the perfect time. Early crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage (and more) can be seeded now. For tomatoes, peppers, and vine crops it’s still a bit early.

We also have seed trays, heat mats, lights, seed starting soil to make your projects as successful as Orie’s. We’d love to hear what you’re thinking of growing this year, so let us know either here in the comments or on the Marty’s Acre Facebook Page!