Founded in 1999, Watsonville, Calif.-based Pacific Plug & Liner has developed a reputation for growing high-quality young plants. Owned by Washington grower Smith Gardens, Pacific Plug & Liner spans 250,000 square feet of state-of-the-art production greenhouses that are the picture of innovation, with rolling Dutch containers, irrigation booms, Argus environmental controls, high-pressure fog systems and hydronic bottom heating. Managing orders and inventory with the PICAS software system allows the operation to track everything in real time, ensuring consistent quality and timely delivery. Pacific Plug & Liner places a great emphasis on customer service, committing to 24-hour turnaround for all orders and questions.
Pacific Plug & Liner is a certified sustainable grower through the VeriFlora certification program. Because of its location on the environmentally pristine central coast of California, the operation sought certification as confirmation of its steps to be accountable for the overall welfare of its employees, families, community and customers. During the six-month process, Pacific Plug & Liner worked on its infrastructure and improved its chemical storage systems. A grant from the state helped the operation install a process that allows 100-percent water capture and reclamation from all field and greenhouse production, improving its ability to monitor runoff. Many of the efforts to streamline operations were already in place, and additional processes allowed Pacific Plug & Liner to lower costs while conserving energy, thus reducing its carbon footprint.
Front and center as a must-stop destination on the California Spring Trials, the operation has become well-known for its extensive comparison trial of perennial and annual varieties. The operation has also become a gracious host to Hishtil Nurseries, Cohen Nurseries, Jaldety Nurseries, McConkey, MPS, Schwartz and the Sunset Western Garden Collection.
With an eye for good genetics, Pacific Plug & Liner searches globally each year for new plants that will be exciting at retail, but also successful for growers to produce. All new products are extensively trialed and evaluated to ensure the best genetics come to market. This year’s Spring Trials highlighted Pacific Plug & Liner’s foray into herbs with the new branded Savour basil, a Greek basil grafted to a wild tree form. The tree is shipped small to allow growers to grow it out and add more herbs to the pot for extra value. Pacific Plug & Liner anticipates this will be a popular item with gardeners, who can clip and harvest the leaves continuously.