Don’t let the last gasps of winter get you down. Vast quantities of Spring are being quietly manufactured all over Thunder Bay, and as soon as the sun has had a few more minutes to put the last bits of white stuff in its place, green is going to start spilling out from beneath the greenhouse plastic as fast as or faster than it starts appearing on the trees.
While you wait for that to happen, let’s talk about what’s going on beneath the greenhouse plastic.
Whatever the conditions outside, beneath the greenhouse poly the air is juicy with the smells of growing things, and although a visit for a few minutes can be like a little getaway for the rest of us, the amount of work that goes on in our vendors’ greenhouses to give Thunder Bay’s flower and vegetable gardeners a jump on the growing season is also awe-inspiring. Each tray represents hundreds – sometimes thousands – of seeds planted, to be transplanted, sometimes repotted several times before they reach their final destinations bedded, hung, dangled, twined and potted all over the Northwest.
Growers like Linwood Nursery, Evergreen, Belluz Farms, the Squash Queen, DeBruin’s Greenhouses and Hyatt Greenhouses are now heating their greenhouses while they prepare flower and vegetable transplants for gardens and planters, so that in May you’ll be able to bring home sturdy little plants ready to brighten your landscape. Some have seedlings already up, some are seeding their first trays now. Teresa Daniele tells us she and her husband John will be transplanting the first seedlings from the solarium into the greenhouse this week – even if they have to dig their way to it every morning.
Out at Veg-e-tate Market Garden, Justin and Caitlin have been involved in a low-temp greenhouse operation all winter, painstakingly developing their ability to maintain a year-round supply of micro-greens. Thanks to them there’s been a small, but growing supply of greens available since last fall. Belluz Farms has also been with us through the winter with storage vegetables, but only began heating their greenhouses fairly recently. They began offering salad greens a couple of weeks ago and will be introducing new items at Market as customers begin inquiring. Potted herbs should be coming out soon.
In the greenhouses at DeBruin’s, the tomato plants are beginning to flower, and have just gotten tall enough for Arjen to snap the first collars around their tops and begin the summer-long process of adjusting tomato vines. The nutrient film system has just been set up for the season, the first lettuces dropping their roots into the flow. Arjen says the first lettuces and herbs will be arriving at Market in the next couple of weeks – probably next weekend, during the Garden Show – and the first tomatoes, those juicy little grapes and cherries, should be out around May Long Weekend, which is coincidentally right around the time we begin opening for Wednesday Markets 4 – 7pm every week.
That’s right, we’re talking about Wednesday Markets – they’ll starting next month for the whole year! Stay tuned for more details…
Signs of spring in the countryside. Kind of amazing when you think about it.