Friday, March 5, 2010

Playing in Dirt

Each year when Sunnyside re-opens their doors for Easter, we begin to hear the same question from many of our customers: What do you do all winter? The answer to this question is simple: we plant. We have 18 greenhouses that will eventually be filled door-to-door with plants.

And to start off planting, we need to fill pots with potting soil. Thankfully the days where we had to do it all by hand are gone. We've had what I call a "dirt machine" for over a decade now. It dumps potting soil into pots on a conveyor belt. It's pretty cool. The only downside is with all the dirt flying around, you get dirty. Really really dirty.

But it doesn't compare to our new toy: the Rapid Transplanter. We've only had the transplater for a few days but it's so awesome. I don't know how we ever did without it. Transplanting is a long and (sometimes) tedious process. When doing it by hand, you have to poke the little plants out of the plug trays and then stick them into the flats.

On a good day, one person can transplant up to 200 flats (that's about 7200 plants). Our new machine can do 200 flats in about 2 hours. It's amazing! Here's what it looks like:
The plugs are on the left and the flats they are going to be planted into are on the right. It can plant four flats at once.

The little white things have poked a hole and now the plugs are being dropped into them.

And then you send the transplanted flats through the automatic watering machine.

It's really an amazing machine. Just don't get your hand caught in it!

1 comment:

  1. First Comment!

    Cool machine. It look a lot like the one that we use at the lab for picking bacterial colonies off plates... I suppose it is actually doing a similar job. Good luck with the new blog!