A few days ago I was visiting my friends at the lovely Freed’s Greenhouse, when one of my former professors showed up by surprise! She had brought her general horticulture class for a tour. Being a nosy plant lady, I couldn’t resist going along with them to learn more about the greenhouses… If you’re nearby Bridgeport, I highly recommend visiting Freed’s! Check out their website here!
Freed and his wife started out in the greenhouse business in 1980. They began with 1 small greenhouse and a chicken coop. The first year, they grew tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage. Thirty-one years later, Freed has built and maintains 35,000 square feet of greenhouse. They grow hundreds of different types of ornamentals, fruits and vegetables, including 60 varieties of impatiens, about 100 varieties each of peppers and tomatoes, and 26 varieties of perennial mums.
Providing more variety is a great way for small businesses to differentiate. Hot peppers, like the Carolina Reaper and bhut jolokia, are a huge trend in the market right now.
Many greenhouse businesses start seeding flowers, peppers, and tomatoes in February. To skip transplanting and save time, certain plants are directly sown into their finished pots. Irrigation drips are also a huge time and water saver.
Holland heaters are a favorite of growers because they are 99% fuel efficient! They’re easy to install, and the CO2 produced by the unit will boost plant growth. The hose in the picture brings outside air to the burners, to avoid re-burning air inside the greenhouse.
It’s mum buying season! Chrysanthemums are herbaceous perennials to zones 3-9. Always make sure the mum cultivar you buy matches your hardiness zone. Fall mums should be planted at least 6 weeks before frost, to establish roots. After planting your mum, add 2-3 inches of coarse mulch to the surrounding soil for insulation. After flowering, cut the main stem to about 8in, remove all refuse, and cover well with mulch. Hardy varieties produce underground shoots, or stolons, which enable these mums to persist from year to year without replanting. Non-hardy mums can be overwintered by covering them with extra mulch.
Thank you to Dave and Jennifer, and all my other friends at Freed’s!
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Great mum resources!