If you're anything like me you've (at some point) started seeds in a kitchen, mud-room, barn, or on your kitchen table. Sometimes we have no choice, but deep down, we know there are benefits to starting seeds in a dedicated propagation house.
Below we list five reasons your plants, and farm business, will benefit from a dedicated propagation seed starting greenhouse.
1. Propagation Houses Create Better Systems
All successful businesses, whether in farming or otherwise, have one thing in common: Solid Systems.
Good systems result in SMOOTH production all the way from material in-puts, to product development, and ultimately sales.
Seedling Tunnels Result in Better Farming Systems
For farming, the raw material inputs are often simple at their core:
- Seed starting mix
The above is a pretty small list as far as 'product manufacturing' goes. At least it seems so when you think of it on a one-seedling / one-plant level.
BUT, when planting 10,000 SEEDLINGS, all with different germination rates, maturation dates, and more, it can quickly become a production managers' nightmare to make sure plants are taken care of well and planted on-time.
At the end of the day, dedicated propagation houses allow for:
- Dedicated space for different plant varieties
- Easy access to the seed-starting mix and other planting inputs
- Easy access to water
- Infrastructure to keep temperatures where needed
The above is a clear advantage for creating AND STICKING WITH planting schedules, watering times, and overwintering dates... All of those things are integral to farming systems.
2. Healthier Stronger Crops
It is true that plants can be started anywhere appropriate temperatures can be maintained and the necessary water and light inputs provided.
The above said (and this may hit close to home for many of you) the plants you start on your kitchen table, will likely struggle compared to plants you start in a greenhouse.
Plants started in our homes, or on the ground in a hoop house, are more likely to:
- Experience less consistent temperatures
- Experience damaging humidity
- Receive water inconsistently
- Get 'leggy' as they reach for light
All of the above aren't great for the early health of a plant, and will likely result in slower maturation rates and lower yields.
Healthy crops mature better, stronger, and that is good for the bottom-line.
3. More Accurate Succession Planting = More Production
Succession planting requires multiple ROUNDS of planting, often for the same varieties of crop. If you are operating a CSA or want to ensure you have consistent crops year round, you won't just be seeding during the spring... you will be seeding at different points throughout the season.
Having a dedicated space to plant seeds, and keep track of planting dates, will allow you to move plants through your greenhouse like an assembly line.
With more accurate succession planting you will be able to hit more of your PRODUCTION goals. This is the real value.
4. Precise Environments for Seedlings
When I first started growing food I started seeds wherever I could maintain a good germination temperature.
I would then place all the young plants on racks as close to the largest window in my house... This was problematic.
With a propagation high tunnel greenhouse the environmental issues I always experienced are almost non-existent.
Seed-starting houses almost always have the infrastructure pieces that allow for precise temperature, humidity, and light inputs. They come with:
- Thermostatically Controlled Exhaust Fans and Power Intake Shutters
- HAF (Horizontal Air Flow) Fans
- Double Layer Inflated Greenhouse Plastic
- 8 mm Twin Wall Polycarbonate End-Wall Covers
The above structural elements make maintaining the exact environment you need way simpler.
The insulation achieved through the double layer plastic and 8 mm twin wall polycarbonate end-walls help reduce the price for keeping those temperatures.
5. Increased Future Revenue Potential
If you wonder why selling plant starts has become so popular, wonder no further. The profit margin on plant starts is HUGE. With a propagation house you are able to churn out SUPER HEALTHY plant starts much faster than if you were to attempt growing starts in a poorly heated high tunnel, or a part of your home.
With the increased production efficiency you could start an annual plant sale as an extra source of revenue for your farm.
Propagation Greenhouses Are a Tool
Whether you plan to use a seed starting house for your CSA, or you want to start a plant sale each spring, a well configured propagation greenhouse can be the most helpful tool.
Between the increased revenues possible from healthier plants, more efficiently executed succession planting, or getting your own plant sale going, a propagation house can truly be a money-making stress-reliever.
If a start-house is something you want, we have A LOT of experience helping growers configure a propagation greenhouse. You can request a quote at our contact us page.
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