Potential energy

Posted by Jessie Jacobson on Jan 27th 2017

Potential energy is the stored energy of an object.  It is the energy by virtue of an object's position relative to other objects.  A joule is the international measurement of energy.  It is equal to the energy transferred to (or work done on) an object when a force of one newton acts on that object in the direction of its motion through a distance of one meter.  Ponder that for a minute, regular people, and then let's get a physicist to stop by and get an exact measure of the potential energy in the greenhouse right about now.  It is as if everything is crouching on the ground ready to spring into action.  We are slow, but we are busy.  We are static, but we are full of energy. I got a chance to go on safari in the greenhouse this morning with my iPhone in hand with the thought of capturing potential energy in images to share with you on the blog today.  Have a look around. Greenhouse time is measured in weeks.  This is week 4.  This is the week that the vinca vine and fuchsia babies arrive.  The pots are filled with soil (not dirt).  This year we are using a new high porosity mix which will give our plant babies the best start for spring.  Our soil is a peat-based growing medium with high air capacity and extra drainage that contains mycorrhizae, a beneficial endomycorrhizal fungus, that increases resistance to stresses and also eliminates the need to use extra fungicides.  Isn't that great!?  Our greenhouse staff plants these plug babies with great care and purpose as they unleash the potential energy of these plugs as they grow on to be full grown plants in your gardens and containers.
Vinca vine babies
Pillar geraniums are a signature item at Tonkadale.  These massive geranium towers were started last June as baby plants and have been nurtured along all this time.  They are monitored for nutrition and encouraged to grow all the way up to the top of their stakes.  The greenhouse is busy pinching tips and stripping leaves as we tie of the stalks month after month.  Then, we actually send them on spring break to our growing range to green and color up.  Imagine the potential energy stored in these leaves!  When the time is right, they will be ready to explode into color with blooms the size of softballs in shades of pink, red, orange, salmon and white.
Pillar geraniums stretching for the sunshine
As if you need an excuse to stop by, but just in case.  The citrus plants including lemons and limes and kumquats are ready to burst into bloom.  Over the next 6 weeks or so, we will experience the intoxicating fragrance of their flowers as they move energy into producing the acidic yet sweet fruits that we know and love so well.  We take it for granted as we work away, but what a gift to smell these smells and watch the progression of flower to fruit.
Meyer lemon flower buds
Seeds are here and there is probably no greater expression of potential energy then planting and watching seeds as they germinate with such eagerness and expectation.  Pictured below are scarlet runner beans which are actually quite beautiful and easy to grow.  Their flowers are just that, scarlet and the foliage is a deep burgundy color.  In case you haven't yet experienced a French Breakfast Radish in a simple salad or spread with butter and sprinkled with salt, you really should.  So much meal potential right here on the seed rack.  Delicious!
Seed packets all in a row
Newly sprouted lettuce
There is nothing quite like the experience and scent of a hyacinth flower as it comes into bloom.  These bulbs are packed with energy and are ready to go when the temperature and light says it's time.  Forced to bloom early and indoors, their fragrance has the potential to radiate and entire room.  Take this pot of there for example.  Gently remove one from the soil, rinse the roots and place it in a bulb vase.  Store the remaining two bulbs in a cool area (above freezing).  When the first bulb is spent, replace with the second.  Enjoy the simple pleasure hyacinths have to offer for weeks on end.  You will be glad you did.  Pinky swear!
Blue hyacinth bulbs
Here is the seminar stage, all set and waiting to unleash the energy of education to you.  We are here and ready to disperse wisdom and knowledge to gardeners of all stages.  All are welcome to attend or just wander in and sit for a bit.  Clear your mind and leave it open to the potential of spring.
The seminar stage
Each week from here on the out, new plants will arrive and the greenhouse will gradually fill to the tip-pity top!  It's not only the plants that are filled with energy, it's the people.  This is what we do, we store up energy and prepare for spring (we are kind of good at it) and we are happy to share our energy and enthusiasm with you.  Where are you on the joule meter? See you at Tonkadale! Jessie