CAST 2017: Musings of a Spring Trials Rookie – the Last of the Northern Trials
After the third day of California Spring Trials, I feel like I have finally fallen into a routine. I am fortunate enough to be with the team from Greenhouse Grower, who knows what they are doing. They stay busy. I mean really busy. Besides taking notes on all the new varieties, they have to catalog photos that do the plants justice, all while networking with both the attendees and the folks that make the trials happen. This is not easy stuff. I am fortunate enough to be able to really observe the trials. In a way, it is nice to be the rookie. Nobody recognizes me from the year before, I can focus all of my attention on the plant varieties, and I can try to pick apart things to figure out how this industry really works. They cannot teach you this stuff in school.
As a small time grower, I love everything about the cultivation of plants. Growing temperatures, pinching, plant growth regulators, and the success when a plant sells with quality. When breeders at the trade shows supply tech sheets, it’s like grabbing a recipe for success. I get straight information that should work. I also get a sense of belonging when I can discuss different chemical applications and hear about struggles that I can relate to. I believe that this type of networking and communication makes the greenhouse industry fun. It also makes it a place where we can belong. Although there are so many companies in this business, it still seems like we are all part of the same team. We strive to find solutions to the problems we share. We all get worked up over each other’s introductions. But what’s most exciting is that we all make the future of horticulture something to write home about.
Today I saw a whole list of things to get excited about. We can look forward to petunias with an outstanding fragrance, a calibrachoa that doesn’t need to be pinched, tomatoes that can fit on even the smallest of patios, dahlias that would knock your socks off, and greenhouse lighting that conserves the energy that we often take for granted. In a way, I feel like the past three days have run me up and down the ladder of the greenhouse business. I see it from a customer’s point of view one minute, and then the owner of a company next. All of the duties that fill in the steps are different. We may not all experience the same height, but together we make it lead somewhere.
Thank you to Kemin for its support of the 2017 Dr. Allan Armitage California Spring Trials Scholarship.