It's up for debate

Week One Under the Greenhouse

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Last month, I managed to wheedle my way into a greenhouse job north of Philadelphia, and, following my first week on the job, I can report that week one was nowhere near great nor promising. On that same note, I’ve learned a tremendous amount in a short time, and, on a separate note, joined a community band.

My new job is in the cuttings department of the greenhouse operation – it’s here where cuttings are received and planted in trays to be carted out to specific sections of the greenhouses to be misted and grown under special lighting for specific amounts of levels and time, treated with pesticides and hormones as necessary, sent to hoop houses to be subjected to some cold treatment for hardiness, then shipped out to retailers and private buyers.

The job is both simple and complex, simple in the fact that the process is exactly described as above and complex in the way that anyone just walking into the greenhouse would have to quickly become familiar with rooting hormones, specific designated areas within the greenhouses, specific order of processing incoming shipments (in addition to temperature recording, tray-size assignments and pre-setup of trays to be placed on conveyor belts), handling surpluses, detriments, and damaged incoming shipments of cuttings, and, lastly, working with both individuals with either a long employment at the greenhouses, those with a deeper background in horticulture, and Cambodian seasonal workers with little a lick of English.

As someone just walking into the greenhouse, I have not exactly cottoned on quickly enough to assure my supervisor of six years’ greenhouse savvy that I was the best candidate for the job.

In spite of what could be a very short career stint and my first firing ever, I’ve had the pleasure of “sticking” (planting cuttings in a soil medium in specific-sized, plastic growing trays) everything from fuchsia (actually nearly pronounced the way you want to say it) and New Guinea impatiens to Scaevola and Thunbergia. There are also the more needy types requiring rooting hormone before sticking such herbs as Rosemary and Lavender.

It’s all very fascinating, and so long as I last there and ending on a positive note, you can also come to see me perform in the Southampton Community Band after I relearn my trumpet scales.


Written by Robin Lee Dunlap

January 8, 2017 at 8:17 pm

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