If you have decided that you want to outsource your germination, propagation, and/or proliferation, then there are a few things you must consider about the place you will be working with for this process. These include important questions to ask, a checklist of things to look for when inspecting them directly before receiving/shipping them, and some things to consider when planning/timing your season out.
1.) Do your due diligence - questions to ask:
- What do they use for integrated pest management?
- What pest/disease do they struggle with?
- How many nodes will the plant have/how long will it grow prior to shipping?
- What other plants are being grown in proximity to your plants?
- What do they feed, how often (organic, use of inoculants), and application method (mist, flood, top feed)?
- How are the plants hardened off?
- Ensure there is no pest or disease
- Double-check they have been properly hardened off
- Confirm uniform color/height/size
- Inspect roots to ensure health
On top of all of this, you must also understand lead times and get on their schedule. Facilities like this fill up quickly, especially around prime planting season. You must take into consideration all factors that will affect when the seeds should be planted, as well as when they will be ready for delivery.
The best way to plan it is to be ready for the plants to be planted into the field the day they are received from the propagation house. This way they are left in more stressful conditions for as little time as possible and you will have the least amount of die off, regardless of how they started (seed or clone)
- Again, if you wish to continue growing them up after you have received them and before they are transplanted to the field, then you MUST have some sort of facility to protect them from the elements.