Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Sanitation practices at M R Gardens

As world events unfold this spring, I’ve been thinking about you. I’m taking the physical distancing and cleaning recommendations very seriously since a large portion of my customers are in the at-risk category.  

Photo of Megan by Lisa Kruss

In addition to usual sanitation routines in the greenhouse, I’ve been spraying customers' pots and trays with hydrogen peroxide 30 minutes prior to pickups. I plan to hold part of the upcoming sales outdoors to take advantage of the natural air flow. I’m also displaying the plants so that there’s distance between them and people browsing.

Typically, I only have one or two customers at a time at sales, and certainly no more than five. I can’t predict the traffic this year, but I plan to monitor the number and request that new arrivals wait in the unlikely event I have more than five people here at that moment.

In general, the farm is a very low traffic area. While I often refer to M R Gardens as “we” or “us,” it’s almost always just me in the greenhouse (at least in the past year). Even in a typical spring, I stay close to the farm between November and May because I need to adjust the vents to keep the best temperature in the greenhouse. So other than navigating cancellations at my Airbnb, my daily spring life hasn’t changed much as the world shifted to staying home.

Proper disease management in the organic nursery also means washing hands a ton. After picking off decaying leaves, I often squirt my hands with sanitizer before pruning the next set of plants to prevent spread of anything unwanted.

And of course I always have a tub full of bleach nearby and often my gloved hands are in the water because washing pots is such an important job in an organic nursery.

So sanitation is a big part of my life in the greenhouse to keep plants healthy regardless of what’s going on in the world—and I don’t mind making the extra effort to ensure I’m properly limiting human germs too. In other words—in cooperation, we got this.

That all said, I do appreciate if you can order plants online (or email your request list to megan@mrgardens.net) to make sanitation easy. If any of your neighbors usually attend my plant sales, it would be great if you could pass on the word to them too.  I’m mainly holding the April and May sales to alert passersby who aren’t familiar with my nursery. I’ve noticed health officials are recommending gardening as a way to stay active and emotionally healthy during all this change, so I want to be of service. Speaking from my own experience—hands in the dirt in the presence of newborn seedlings really does help.

I’ve also enjoyed the continuity of my spring activities in the midst of all the upheaval—particularly seeing your familiar faces, even if from six feet away!

--Megan Riley, M R Gardens Owner