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Growing season in planting indoors

Growing season in planting indoors


Growing season in planting indoors in January can offer more than just the promise of green lettuce and radishes at the supermarket check-out line.

In their greenhouse, Bill and Nancy Haines hope to see a variety of vegetables grow year-round. Haines has an impressive resume of successes — including growing organic produce in his garden while earning a certification as a master gardener.

But even his success has faced its own challenges. Nancy Haines started the project in the early fall of 2011 and, by the end of January, was able to harvest her first salad of winter greens. The project required her to start the seeds in December and plant in January.

Even if she started the seeds now, Nancy Haines said, it’s not enough time to get any of her garden projects in before summer.

“Plants just grow so much slower in the winter,” she said. “You just have to be patient.”

A long winter

For most homeowners, gardening in the winter can mean a cold house and the chance of frost damage.

In the Haines’ case, it’s a year-round garden. The couple live in a home with a greenhouse, and like many others, they have turned their small hobby into a livelihood.

They started a non-profit company, Midwest Produce, which provides greenhouse facilities and plants to local farmers and other organizations.

The couple has grown lettuce, cilantro, herbs, eggplant and other garden staples as well as strawberries, tomatoes and melons. Some of their products are sold at the annual St. Patrick’s Day market.

“When you work in a climate where the farmers can’t grow things all year round, we feel like we have to make it happen,” said Haines, who also plants flowers and herbs.

But it’s not easy, Haines said.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m working overtime,” she said.

The winter months are the busiest, but they have their down-times. At times, Haines said, she finds time to do a little bit of gardening each week — if she can get to it.

“It’s hard to find time to get out there when I’m working around the house,” she said.

In this photo taken Wednesday, March 8, 2016, Kristen Haines of Haines' Garden Nursery, holds some of the first of the year. The couple operates a garden and greenhouse business. (Andy Manis/The Oregonian)

In the spring and summer, Haines can easily make 10 to 20 gardens in a day. When she is busy, she hires volunteers or asks friends to help out.

And that’s when things get a little crazy, Haines said. In the fall and winter, she grows vegetables, like sweet potatoes, and flowers and herbs, like kale, collards, sage and rosemary. And she doesn’t even turn on the heat in the greenhouse until about a week before she starts putting the gardens in the ground.

“Sometimes, we can have an overflow,” she said.

Then there are the people who come to the farm to see what is blooming or what she’s selling. Some people stop in to have a word with Haines or to talk about their own gardens. Sometimes people bring a few things to the farm and ask her to use them.

“It feels like I’m doing a little bit for everybody,” she said.

That's one of the reasons she started Haines’ Garden Nursery about three years ago. She wanted to offer a way for people who don't live on a farm or have access to an urban farm or greenhouse to learn about how to grow food.

“What I find is that more and more people are interested in having more access to food,” she said. “There’s so much talk about food production now, and this is the only source of food.

“And people want to connect to that.”

Haines is the only person in her family who likes to garden, and her love of it carries over into her work with the garden nursery, she said.

"So I just found that I'm really good at it, and I like teaching it, and I like sharing that," she said.

It started out as a way to have a garden that Haines could use as a classroom. Now the nursery grows a wide variety of things, from kale to sweet potatoes to strawberries.

Many of the vegetables are grown in raised beds, and she also makes small raised beds on the lawn of her house for a larger variety of vegetables.

She’s been learning about different vegetables and seeing them grow from seedlings all the way to the produce she sells at the farmers market.

And she loves it.

“I want to see the change in people who don’t have much growing experience,” Haines said. “And I see people change.

“We learn together,” she added.

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For more information about Haines' Garden Nursery or to view pictures of this year's plant sale, visit their website, call 270-758-5115 or like them on Facebook.


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