Mrs. Clean Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Imagine declaring that you are starting a business growing and selling annual flowering plants and herbs.  Now, imagine that this business will be located in northwestern Vermont.  Said flowering plants and herbs must be started late January, February and March, if growing from seed, to be ready for sale at the beginning of May.  And, even if not being started from seed but being grown on from plugs or liners, they still must be potted up beginning early March. Northwestern Vermont is not exactly balmy late January through March.  As at matter of fact it is often the coldest part of the winter and the snowiest.  Where, oh where, will all these darling baby green beings live while growing up?  If you were a sane business woman starting this type of business you would obviously have a greenhouse so you could provide a nice cozy bright space for them.  Not me, though.  Oh, no. I started and ran this business for the first three seasons without a greenhouse…in Northwestern Vermont! Banks of lights and shelves filled what had once been the eating alcove.  Watering cans lined up by the cat’s dishes. Potting soil bins rested by the kitchen sink while I was working and got shoved in to some corner when it was meal prep time.  Soon more lights and shelves were down in the basement where there was no sink so water was lugged down there two watering cans at a time.  Some days plants would spend the sunny hours on the three season porch only to be hauled back in after dark.  By mid-April benches outside the porch door would be filled up while the sun was out.  A lot of everyday was spent moving trays of plants from under lights to the three season porch to outside.  Potting up, sowing seeds all happened in the kitchen! Yes, in the kitchen!  Granted, I wasn’t using the kitchen counter or the stove as work areas but there was potting soil in the kitchen, on the table, on the floor, in the sink….In the space of a few short weeks, that first season, I went from a person who vacuumed two or three times a week to someone spreading potting soil through out the house.  The vacuum cleaner got put away, the broom came out and from late January until the end of the growing season Mrs. Clean took a vacation.