The bounty of the Santa Maria Valley farmland is best seen during harvest season, when trucks are loaded with vegetables, fruits and flowers, but work begins long before that.
The harsh conditions that crops face before harvesting are first and foremost noticeable. When weather, pests and predators can dramatically affect plant growth and even viability.
There, the transplantation of vegetables such as those produced by the Plantel Nursery is carried out.
Grown in a controlled environment until transplanted into the field by a trained and experienced crew, Planter’s vegetable transplants allow farmers’ crops to get off to a stronger start than direct seeding. When Planter Nursery first started operations, the owners believed that Santa Maria would be the perfect location for a transplant business. Due to the scarcity of available farmland in the region, he said one of the best ways to increase the productivity of the fields is the number he can harvest in a year.
After setting up in Garey in 1987, Plantel opened a second location in Santa Maria on Telephone Road and a few years later opened a state-of-the-art production facility at 2775 E. Clark Ave. Between the three facilities there is 1,350,000 square feet of greenhouse space, with approximately the same amount of available outdoor growing space.
What is grown on the facility at any given time is entirely determined by the order from the farmer and is typically delivered to the fields on the Central Coast.
Les Graulich, Plantel’s CFO and secretary, explained that by transplanting the seeds into the field rather than using them, farmers can get at least a round or two more than sowing.
The use of transplanted vegetable plants rather than seeds maintains the overall yield consistency of crops by eliminating the possibility of germination failures that cause gaps in the production row, allowing the planter’s greenhouse controlled Growing the transplants in the environment allows for higher quality control. Early plant growth.
“We planted quality plants in the ground for our customers,” says Graulich.
The majority of Plantel’s factories end up on local fields and farms, with approximately 70% of its operations located in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The rest of the transplants will be heading to farms across the state and even to farms in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona and Wisconsin.
Plantel’s business is growing steadily as more and more potential customers realize the value of using transplanted crop seedlings at each harvest transition.
When Graulich arrived in 2001, he said Plantel was growing and shipping about 400,000 plants a year, more than 1.8 billion. The company’s growth is directly attributable to the cost of land, he said.
“Today, farmland is very expensive and direct seeding in those fields takes a lot of time away from the yield and growth of the fields,” he said.
That reality has led to growth for the company, potentially leading to a 140-acre main production facility, with an 80-acre addition to the currently planned facility. The additional facility will be constructed with the same level of production attention to environmental impact as the rest of the facility.
“One of the things we are proud of is what we do for the environment. We have our own water recycling program, so sometimes 70-80% of our water are recycled.”
The company uses large 250,000-gallon tanks to reuse the water used to grow the seedlings. It also has an extensive groundwater capture system so that rainwater that falls on the facility is captured and used to water the latest crops.
Plantel technicians test the nutrient levels of recovered or reused water to ensure plants receive the same nutrients as freshwater. Plantel has also created an automatic pallet stacker in-house and is currently awaiting delivery of the machine, which will impact the productivity of the porting process on site.
Adapting to new working realities, climate and environmental needs, or future growth and development will allow Plantel Nursery to continue to grow, helping local farmers to grow more and more, both near and far. You will be able to produce the highest quality produce for the market.