As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we are profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 23rd week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Martin Stockton of First Step Greenhouses in Temecula, Calif.
His Job–Martin is the head grower at First Step Greenhouses, and he has 16 years experience growing plugs. “I enjoy the variability from day to day, season to season. I enjoy the fact that running an operation requires knowledge in many things and requires multiple talents.”
Know When To Give Up–One of the best pieces of advice Martin has ever received is knowing when to dump a plant. “You have to get over all the time and effort put into the crop and realize it’s perishable. It is a sacrifice of the one for the many. If you retain an old and overgrown crop and sell off it, you will most likely be selling old and overgrown the whole season.” So bite the bullet, Martin says!
Information Sharing - Keep your customers in the loop, he adds. It defines your success. “A large part of the plug and liner business is managing and reacting to information. What separates us is our commitment to quality, as well as customer service.”
Twenty-Five Years From Now–Success will depend on a few things, like the ability to differentiate, find markets or crops that have less competition and can command higher prices and understanding your product cost.
Why He’s One To Watch–First Step Greenhouses isn’t just an annual bedding plug producer or a spring liner producer. Martin will consider propagating anything, and he’s been working intensely with new software to share growing knowledge with everyone on staff. “Sharing information will help everyone understand what needs to be done in a timely manner and empower lower-level workers,” he says.