Andrea Cataldo about practicalities of nursery work

Seeding and pricking out plants in the spring.

Stevenage Museum

Spencer Nurseries market stall in 1959
Stevenage Museum

Spencer's Nurseries


Well they’d start doing the pricking out of the plants. Well what happened was, in the other part of the nursery, where my grandparents house was, there was glasshouses where they grew these small plants and in those days there’d be extra ladies taken on in the spring and they’d all be around this huge table, pricking out these little tiny plants in boxes for sale and course in those days it was wooden boxes and when Maureen and I were on the market, you dug ‘em out with your hands and, one and nine a dozen.  And you counted ‘em out, wrapped ‘em up in newspaper and I can remember my father and my uncles in this big shed, you had to sterilise all the soil. They had these big steam sterilisers and all this soil had to be sterilised, put in the boxes and then of course, this innovation of compost in bags arrived. Peat compost which made the whole thing so much easier. The boxes were lighter to carry and then they produced these polystyrene things that you just broke off and you handed someone their ten or twelve plants in this polystyrene tray. You know it’s just so different now to how it was when we first started.

Andrea Cataldo

This page was added on 30/04/2015.

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