CAST spring trials offer a predictable rhythm to our work in this industry; a kickoff of sorts to the spring planting season around the country. This year is different. Like many others around the globe, we’ve found ourselves adapting to a dramatically altered landscape that included the cancellation of CAST 2020. Missing CAST, while not as significant a loss as many are experiencing, is a loss nonetheless for us as well as many in our industry.
We’ve faithfully attended CAST for decades and always look forward to this event for a number of reasons:
Connecting with respected brokers, breeders, and industry colleagues we’re fortunate enough to also count as friends is always a CAST highlight.
Seeing new varieties and POP marketing messaging is always exciting. Here at Mast Young Plants we’re fortunate to be able to see a number of advanced trials, but CAST offers a unique opportunity to step into the breeder’s space and into their vision for the entire grow-to-home experience.
Mast Young Plants trials the majority of the same plants shown at CAST in our own greenhouse trials the same year. CAST provides us an excellent opportunity to compare the way the same plants perform in very different conditions – cloudy Michigan winter vs. sunny California climate. That comparative data, combined with the opportunity to personally consult with the breeders, provides us with a much more thorough understanding of a plant’s performance in a variety of growing conditions.
We were encouraged by the resilience of our colleagues who pivoted and adapted, with the assistance of technology, to bring CAST to us digitally!
They also inspired us to share some of our trials with YOU. We’re proud of our innovating department and the ways that it enables us to offer the highest quality plants to our customers:
- Our innovating department works year-round to trial plants, allowing us to include product in our programs that we have confidence in.
- Our trials are performed in Michigan under natural daylength conditions. While we’re able to evaluate them in ideal growing conditions at CAST, our greenhouse trials help us understand how varieties will perform in less ideal conditions. Varieties that pass the greenhouse test are advanced to our outdoor summer trials to evaluate summer survivability.
- Our trials are done pot tight, purposefully. We’re aware that most growers grow pot tight in the spring and we want to see which varieties can tolerate the conditions we expect they will be grown in once they would leave our greenhouse.
- We use a very low rate of consistent plant growth regulator on all plants in our trials, allowing us to evaluate the true plant habitat.
- We check for disease issues, especially mildew, botrytis, and root rots.
Our commitment to making you priority includes investing in innovation and rigorous product trialing. So we invite you to follow along via Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn as we’ll be sharing in the upcoming days some of the new products we trialed that we’re excited to see show up in garden centers, and ultimately people’s yards and gardens, this spring and summer.