I’m finally finished planting the plugs I bought from Farmer Bailey. Plugs are seedlings that have been grown in trays of 100-200 small cells. The seedling in each cell is ready to plant, but still much smaller than anything a gardener would buy at a retail nursery. Plugs are grown by wholesale growers and sold to nurseries or farmers. Wholesale growers require minimum orders that most small flower farmers can’t use, but a broker like Farmer Bailey makes it manageable by ordering large lots then selling them in 3-tray lots to growers like me. I can’t say enough to thank Farmer Baily for giving small flower farmers a way to order plugs.
This year I ordered 3 trays, all fall-planted biennials. One tray is Iceland poppy in a mix of colors. Iceland poppies are not easy to grow from seed - I’ve done it but I don’t like the amount of work and worry that went into it. The next tray is Campanula calycanthema in a mix of pastel colors. Campanula look delicate, but once you put them in an arrangement, they seem to freeze and never wilt; I’ve seen them last in the vase for two weeks! The third tray is Rudbeckia hirta Gloriosa Double, which I’ve grown before as a few single plants. Rudbeckia are long-lasting in the vase and bloom over a long period of time, so I’ll be glad to have lots of plants next year.
If everything goes according to plan, the Iceland poppies will start blooming first, probably by February. The campanula will be next, in late spring. The Rudbeckia will bloom later, from mid-summer and continuing through fall. I’ll post my results later this year.