The History and Tradition Behind Field Pansies
What are field pansies? They are the same pansy seed that we use for our pansies in packs, just grown out in the field compared to being grown in a greenhouse. The growing cycle for a field pansy begins quite a long time before they are ready to be sold!
We seed field pansies in the summer, where they get their start in the greenhouses. Following the first frost and right before transplant, the field pansy beds are steamed. This is a tried and true method that has been done for well over a hundred years. Steaming the field pansy beds allows a chemical free method to kill weed seeds and fungus in the beds. The steam is at a certain temperature that kills undesirable soil pests but does not kill the beneficial microbes.
Around mid-October the pansies’ bare root plugs are ready to be transplanted into the field hotbeds. Once in the field, they will grow all winter under glass sashes. The sashes protect the pansies as well as trapping heat and moisture, ideal growing conditions for pansies! This field method of growing gives the pansies a better formed root system, as well as making them hardier against the cold. The field pansies have bloomed by mid-winter and are ready to be dug out once the ground has thawed enough.
So why does Ken’s Gardens invest so much time and labor into field pansies? Tradition! Pansies were always traditionally grown in fields. Our Smoketown location has been growing field pansies for over 100 years, as both Glick’s Plant Farms and as Ken’s Gardens (all in the same family). We really love that our customers can remember coming to dig up field pansies at our garden center as children, and can now bring their own grandchildren to dig them up too!