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Pandemic planting

For many Lakefield area residents, a visit to Village Green Florist and Greenhouse marks certain events in their lives or the lives of their loved ones.
Flowers for weddings, funerals, Easter services, proms and other celebrations are sought by customers each year. Gardeners rely on the greenhouse to supply seedlings that will turn into ripe vegetables come harvest, while those seeking to find a holiday gift for a spouse or other family member stop by every Valentine’s Day.
There’s a certain romance to such a business, but co-owners Jesse and Jen Hendrickson say preparing those lovely bouquets and fresh garden vegetables takes planning and work — and lots of both.
Planting the seeds of success turns out to be just as challenging indoors as it is outside.
“We take the seeds, and we start them out in a tray with a very fine soil planting mix that gives the seeds good surface contact with the soil,” Jesse Hendrickson said. “Depending on the plants, after about five to 10 days, we transfer the seedlings into larger containers with coarser soil.”
A common misconception about greenhouse planting is it’s entirely independent of weather. While it’s true greenhouses don’t end up flooded by torrential rain, for example, the business is very seasonal, due to holidays and weather patterns.
“What we focus on is annuals, which are plants with one growing season,” Jesse Hendrickson said. “Some larger greenhouses focus more on perennials, but those greenhouses would fall into the nursery category.”
Most of their flowers are annuals, grown for holidays or decorations at churches, homes, businesses and community centers. They also grow vegetables for planting in local gardens.
The height of the season is April and May, when customers come in to get their flowers. It’s the culmination of a five-month planting process. Nature and customer preferences are a constant pressure to get it right.
“It’s hard to start something from seed in winter, because you don’t want to start them too early, or else they’ll be too big by sale time,” Jen Hendrickson said.
While their customers are always gracious — and grateful — to have access to homegrown goods from their community, Mother Nature is quite a bit more fickle.

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