“In Castle Rock Washington, we have planted an ever increasing number of H2O Labor Saver baskets for 6 years. We began with just a few (12) along with our traditional 10 gallon ‘city basket’ containers. We have added baskets each year, as the places for hanging them has increased. Our Labor Saver baskets are watered M-W-F. Wednesday the are fertilized with Natures Source Plant Food. As the season progressed the 10 gallon baskets needed water every day. The public works department, who waters all the city baskets with a water truck and long wand, kept records of number of hours of watering needed. The documentation, with consideration for weather patterns, showed that the H20 Labor Savers were truly a labor saver. The 40% savings to labor was accurate and encouraging.
This year we planted 161 of the Labor Saver baskets. Some were sponsored by businesses and homeowners as a fundraiser. People have wanted to buy the baskets for years, but we are a non-profit and do not sell them. But the ability to sponsor a basket proved to be a popular fundraiser for Castle Rock Blooms.
A team of volunteers creates the combinations and work along side Castle Rock High School students in the CRHS greenhouse to plant the liners early February into 606’s. We trim at transplant and then again about 4 weeks later when they are moved to a coldframe to ‘cool down’. Students help Bloom Team volunteers plant the baskets 3 or 4th week in March and they are grown in the cold frame. We trim them the first week in May and space. They stay in the coldframe until the city hangs them, usually the week after Memorial Day. This year they were hung 2 weeks earlier to coincide with a community celebration of the opening of the 6 Rivers Trail system.
As mentioned above, Castle Rock Public Works waters the baskets until they are taken down about the 2nd week in October.”
“We hang the baskets young, trimmed just a few weeks prior, they are not big and full. The community loves watching them grow, week by week and within 3 or 4 weeks they are hanging to the bottom of the baskets. People come to Castle Rock just to see the flowers and the baskets. Businesses are thriving with the new foot traffic and tourist activity and the entire town celebrates the hanging basket success. The city supports the program with funding to purchase plants and supplies as well as to hang, take down and maintain. The economic benefits of having these baskets have proven themselves to be a big part of the reason there are no available storefronts in Castle Rock. The investments that young entrepreneurs have made in local businesses the past few years has been off the charts. We are proud to be a significant contributor to that.”
- Nancy Chennault