“Before the seed there comes the thought of bloom.”
— E. B. White

Trays of plugs and liners at the Skagit Gardens greenhouses

“Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings.  Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest.  The blessing is in the seed.”
— Muriel Ruckeyser

Have you ever stopped to think just where your local nurseries, garden centers and flower vendors get their starter plants?  I was recently the guest of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG) tour of Skagit Gardens, a large wholesale greenhouse company in Washington’s Skagit Valley.  They employ 150 to 300 people, depending upon seasonal needs, so this is a large operation.  The focus on healthy plants is impressive.  Here is a behind-the-scenes look:

Rows upon rows of greenhouses, Skagit Gardens

Trays of cuttings ready for planting

Planting the cuttings, one by one, in trays

Just one of thousands of trays of plugs and liners

Sprinkling system in a greenhouse

Rows of healthy plants growing in a greenhouse, Skagit Gardens

Ornamental kale, Skagit Gardens

A variety of grasses

Orders loaded up and ready for shipping

Riverbend facility, Skagit Gardens

ASCFG tour of Skagit Gardens facilities

Stacked trays

Retractable greenhouse roof

Skagit Gardens truck sign














Plug Repair

May 9, 2010

Old plug, a melted mess

The old, derelict electric lawn mower melted the plug of the extension cord before we noticed that it was over heating.  I’m unpracticed at tinkering and fixing things that break, and I had pretty much decided just to buy a new extension cord.  I knew from a few minutes of online research that a new 100-foot extension cord would cost about $25 with tax.  Before spending that kind of money, I thought I’d try to repair the old cord by replacing the plug.

I am inordinately proud of myself for figuring out how to replace the plug all by myself!  I found instructions online at http://www.ehow.com/how_5832458_replace-female-plug-extension-cord.html.  And now I have a usable extension cord that works like new!  I hate being part of the throw-away culture, and I’m frugal at heart, so this little project was definitely a rewarding experience for me.

New replacement plug. Just open it by unscrewing it.

Cut off old plug, then remove 2 inches of the outer covering and insulation. You'll reveal three wires: white, black and green.

Strip 1/2 inch on each wire to reveal bare copper. Attach one wire to each of three screws: black wire to gold screw, white wire to silver screw, and green wire to green screw.

Slide screwed wires back into plug case and tighten the outside screw. You now have a working plug!

Please note this IMPORTANT information, submitted by an alert reader: “Wires are supposed to be wrapped CLOCKWISE around screw heads so that when tightened, the wire is pulled with it.

When they are attached counter-clockwise the screw pushes the wire off the terminal when tightened, which can lead to shorts, overheating, fire, fraying of the stranded wire, etc.”