Did you know that we start 97% of our own annual vegetable transplants from seed? That ends up being around 40,000 transplants every year! We grow our own transplants, hand picking varieties that we have tested and know to grow well in the PNW, to ensure that our plants get off to a healthy start.
Some crops need to be ready to transplant out into gardens in March which means we have to start propagating them as early as January. Other plants, such as tomatoes and peppers, don't like to be transplanted outside until the temperature really warms up. Our summer season is so short that we have to start these heat-loving crops in the greenhouse two months before they are ready to go outside to ensure they have enough time to mature and produce harvests before the cold weather comes back around.
Because the extra warm and light in a greenhouse can give almost any crop a great head start, we start seeds indoors all spring long. Some crops, such as peas and lettuce will only spend a few weeks in the greenhouse before they will be ready to transplant outside, and these are the first crops to be planted outside in the gardens each spring.
To accommodate our growing need for transplants, we just built three new caterpillar tunnel greenhouses. Our Caterpillar tunnels — so named because of their segmented appearance — were constructed out of galvanized steel and covered with uv-resistant greenhouse plastic. These greenhouses, 36’ long, 30’ long, and 10’ long respectively, will house our annual vegetable transplants until they are established enough to take out into gardens.
If you are interested in starting your own transplants, see our blog post from last month: Seeding Transplants for Spring for tips and seeding dates!