Many of my trips begin at an industrial greenhouse in Lochbuie, Colorado. Lochbuie is a suburb of Denver; it is northeast of the city.
Trips originating there are “plug runs.” ‘Plug’ is greenhouse-speak for a newly germinated plant. Each plug, consisting of the plant and the bit of soil into which it’s rooted, is the size of the tip of your little finger above he first joint. To make a plug, a seed is started in one of 200-300 individual dirt filled spaces that have been molded into a 10” x 20” plastic tray. (Kind of like an ice cube tray.) The trays are put aboard rolling steel racks, and the racks are fork lifted aboard my truck. I might have half a million little plants on board when I depart.
The plants are bedding plants: pansies, petunias, geraniums, and the like. My trailer is a reefer, meaning it has a temperature control unit on it. While aboard the truck, the plugs are maintained at 45°-50° F.
I drive the plants to wholesale greenhouses that replant them into pots to sell at retail. If you buy a petunia from a retail nursery, or Sam’s Club or Home Depot, there’s a chance that it began life in the Lochbuie greenhouse.
A typical run would stop at 8-12 greenhouses, but the number varies.
Most of the workers at the Lochbuie greenhouse speak Spanish.