Knobloch's Greenhouse
1873 Dipper Ave.
Alvord, IA  51230
(712) 473-2293

*Gift Certificates available!
     (Please give us a call)

 

 

Thursday
Mar032016

New Life!

The addition of this blog section to our website was one of Beth's projects...so naturally, after she got sick, this page rather went by the wayside. There's no better way to start back at it than a post about the start & growth of new life!

As we do get asked, we actually don't get to vacation all winter (although we won't complain about our family trip to Hawaii over Christmas break!). The start of the new year also brings the start of Spring at Knobloch's. That's right, in order to have flowers ready for you once the weather warms up, we begin the growing cycle during the snowy months of January & February. It is also common to get asked how we start all of the plants we sell, so here's a peak behind-the-scenes...

We'll begin with starting seeds.
The seeds are sown into different sized plug trays, typically ranging from 84 to 512 cells (holes) per tray:

Our seed machine uses a vacuum system. When the seeds are dumped onto the tray, there are lots of tiny pin-holes (that conveniently are spaced perfectly to match the cells of the plug trays) and when the machine is turned on, the vacuum sucks air in thru the holes - so as the seeds roll around on the tray, they are sucked onto the holes and held in place:

When there is one seed stuck to each tiny hole, the machine is filled over on top of the waiting plug tray. When the vacuum force is released, the seeds fall directly into each cell on the plug tray:

Ta-da!...

Although Brett spends many hours seeding, it is an efficient way to start thousands of plants.

Now for the method of propogation that many are not as familiar with: cuttings. As plants are cross-bred to create all of the cool new colors and patterns, it is easier and often necessary to use pieces (cuttings) of that plant to create additional plants just like it (vs. harvesting seed).

Each cutting is a few leaves on a stem that are cut off the tips of the mother plant. In a few months' time, this tiny thing will be a big, blooming petunia in a hanging basket!

The cuttings are shipped in from warm, sunny winter climates - mainly Central America. Due to being in transit for a day or two before reaching NW Iowa, the cuttings are first rehydrated in a water solution:

Then each tiny cutting is very gently stuck into soil in a plug tray:

The trays of cuttings are kept in a special room with about 95% humidity. The high humidity keeps the leaves moist to keep the plant alive until it grows roots. Most plants have sufficient roots to be moved to the greenhouse after a week or two. Pretty amazing!

As the seeds germinate and the cuttings take root, the greenhouses begin to fill up: 

The process of sowing seeds and sticking cuttings happens repeatedly during the months of January and February. While the seeding will continue into April, we are now getting ready to move on to the next phase: transplanting! Our first step will be hanging baskets which are ready and waiting...

 

Wednesday
Apr092014

growing, Growing, GROWING

At Knobloch's we have been busily transplanting lots of small plugs so they have time to grow before you come for your flowers.  First we start with empty pots such as all these hanging baskets...

(Yep, this is our retail area being used as warehouse of sorts during the cold winter months before we need the space for flowers.)  Hanging baskets and planters are the first thing we transplant as those plants need the most time to grow and fill in.  We begin planting those the first week of March.

The process is rather similar for the individual potted items.  First the empty pots are put into the carrying trays, they are filled with our own potting soil, and the plugs are carefully placed in their final container.  These steps are true family projects as we are fortunate to spend much time working together this time of year.

The plants love the beautiful sunshine and warm weather in the greenhouse, and it's so much fun to watch them grow.  The above picture was taken March 22 and the picture below was taken today (April 9), just two and half weeks later.

 The plants are happily growing, Growing, GROWING and keep showing more color every day!

Wednesday
Feb122014

Will LP Gas Shortage Affect 2014 Spring Plant Prices?

                         Baby seedlings and cuttings at Knobloch's Greenhouse mean SPRING IS ON THE WAY! 

With all the recent news of LP gas shortages which is resulting in very high prices for LP gas, you may be wondering if this will have an affect on your plant prices this spring? We are thankful to say that this will not translate into higher prices at Knobloch's Greenhouse this spring! While we do heat our greenhouses with propane, we contracted our LP gas needs in August 2013 and have been reassured that our gas is in storage for when we need it. So, Knobloch's Greenhouse will be able to maintain the same prices as the 2013 season and not raise the prices for the 2014 season. Good news for you as you start planning for spring!

Although it has been bitter cold outside, spring is well on its way inside the greenhouse! We are busy rooting cuttings and sowing seeds which means the greenhouse is filled with lots of plug trays filled with little, baby plants!