Five things you should know about the PMC for April 1, 2021
All COVID protocols continue and all staff and crew are healthy. Washington State government is now allowing those who work in agriculture in congregate settings to receive the vaccine. Most of the staff have received at least one dose, as have several of the crew. Some are apprehensive about it but that may change as others get vaccinated without complications.
It has been a busy sales week which the latest sales report confirms. As of March 31, the PMC has booked $1,103,802 in sales for this season, which exceeds the sales budget for the year of $1,100,900 and almost ties last year’s record for this date of $1,104,813. It is very possible that additional sales could result in this being the best sales year ever.
Transplanting is in full swing. This is the process of contracting with a greenhouse a year in advance to grow small conifers for us which are called plugs. These plugs are planted out using a six-row mechanical transplanter that requires 10 seasonal employees and three or four staff to run. Approximately 35,000 plants a day can be transplanted and in less than two weeks almost 250,000 plugs will be planted into 2 ½ acres of prime sandy loam soil. They will be grown for one growing season and be sold next winter/spring as plug-1 conifers.
The PMC also produces some species of conifers from seed that are sown into a seed bed and grown for two years. These conifers are referred to as a 2-0. The plug-1’s are spaced apart a little more than the 2-0’s so they develop a bigger root system and thus survive more easily in difficult sites. Please contact the WACD PMC if you want to learn more about the availability and benefits of transplants.
Even though harvest is over and the fields are cleaned up and the transplanting is finishing up, the PMC is still selling and shipping plants. Out of the 1.5 million plants sold thus far, 1.15 million have shipped. That means that there are still 350,000 plants to ship, plus any new orders that come in. There are a variety of plants still available so please let the PMC know if we can help in any way.
Life Goes On
This report has touched upon a few different layers of planning and activity that occur here on an ongoing basis. This year’s plants are still being sold and shipped, transplants for the 2021-22 season are being planted, and seedbeds are germinating for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 sales seasons. We are also looking at seed production for sowing this year and the next in order to produce plants to sell through the 2023-24 season.
One way we get those seeds is by growing the parent plants here. One of the first to bloom is Red Flowering Currant. Most everyone agrees that they are stunning when in bloom and that is not lost on those who work at the PMC, but they also need pollinators to help the attractive flowers become the all-important seed-filled berries. Many of these early blooming species rely upon native pollinators such as orchard mason bees and hummingbirds. Fortunately, both are out in force now so there is a reasonable chance that there will be ample seed to collect this summer.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Jim Brown, WACD PMC Nursery Manager