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Kim’s Greenhouse opens near Callender

By Staff | Apr 26, 2015

-Farm News photo by Hans Madsen Kim Peterson, owner of Kim’s Greenhouse, 3078 Hayes Ave. near Callender, tends to one of her hanging flower baskets.

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CALLENDER – Kim Peterson, who has spent more than two decades in the garden center world, launched Kim’s Greenhouse, 3078 Hayes Ave., this month.

Peterson, whose new business venture is in rural Webster County not far from Callender, said she learned the business during her long association with Eddie’s Greenhouse in Fort Dodge. That well-known local enterprise was purchased by Jon and Heather Baedke when its founder, Eddie Casady, retired in December 2013.

“I worked for Eddie’s Greenhouse for 22 years and I worked for Smitty’s for a year,” Peterson said. “I decided to start my own.”

She said what sets her enterprise apart is the knowledge she acquired during her time at Eddie’s.

-Farm News photo by Hans Madsen Kim Peterson tends to some of her seedlings. Peterson has a large variety of vegetables and flowers available.

“I basically became the head grower,” Peterson said. “I planted all the seed. Took all the cuttings. Eddie kind of gave me free range. We worked well. He was a dream to work for, just an absolute dream. We got along perfectly.”

Despite the name, Kim’s Greenhouse doesn’t actually feature a greenhouse – yet.

“I’m growing everything out of my garage and my sun room,” Peterson explained. “We’re turning our barn into a house. So, we’ve put up a three-car garage … It’s got in-floor heat. So, I’ve been using the heat from the floor to germinate my seeds. I’m growing things outside and in my sun room.”

Actual greenhouses, however, are part of her ambitious game plan.

“If it takes off like I hope it does, then we’ll put up greenhouses and go from there,” Peterson said. “Then I’ll never have to retire and I don’t want to.”

Kim Peterson mug

The selection Kim’s Greenhouse offers is extensive and quite varied.

“I’ve got 50 varieties of perennials,” Peterson said. “I’ve got lots of varieties of vegetables and annuals. I’ll have 30 or 40 varieties of annuals. … For Mother’s Day, I’ll have baskets and pots and stuff like that and things for Memorial Day. I’ll have some made up.”

She said she welcomes custom orders for these observance days and all other special occasions.

Many of the plants will be grown at Kim’s, but at least in the initial year, some will be acquired elsewhere.

“I’m trying to grow as much as I can,” Peterson said. “It’s a mix.”

She said she won’t have trees and shrubs this year, but hopes to add them in the future. Kim’s Greenhouse also won’t be selling garden supplies initially, but the plan is to add those products next year.

“I kind of want to see how things go this year,” Peterson said.

Destination

She envisions Kim’s Greenhouse as more than just a garden center.

“I want to make it a destination place,” Peterson said. “I have chickens. I sell eggs. … My husband, Kent Peterson, and I have a collection of old cars. They are all real early – 1914 is the oldest. A 1940 Chevy is the newest. I want to do a mini farmers market out here because we always plant a big garden. I figure, we’ll just plant a little extra.”

The farmers-market component of Kim’s Greenhouse will feature extensive choices.

“I’ll have some asparagus; we have a pretty big asparagus bed,” Peterson said. “I’ll have tomatoes, green beans, peas, cucumbers, zucchini, kale, cauliflower, broccoli. Probably do some onions. We’ll probably have some sweet corn. … I want to plant gourds and pumpkins and stuff for fall.”

Labor of love

Peterson said she is excited about being at the helm of Kim’s Greenhouse because she gets great joy out of growing things.

I love it,” she said. “I just eat, breathe and sleep greenhouse. I love watching the seeds come up. I’m obsessed. I’m out there sometimes at 4 o’clock in the morning.”

Helping others develop the skills to share that rewarding experience is one of her priorities.

“I want to make people happy,” Peterson said. “I like to help somebody who has never planted anything and help them evolve into really loving gardening and being outside. It’s good exercise. Cheap therapy.”

Peterson said the hours at Kim’s Greenhouse will be flexible.

She said people are welcome to call ahead, but she plans to be open most of the time.

“I’m a homebody and as long as I’m there, I’ll be open,” Peterson said.

She said her business is easy to find.

“It’s out in the country,” Peterson explained. “I’m a mile and a half on a gravel road. I’m two miles east of Callender and then a mile and a half south on Hayes Avenue. … I’ll have a sign between the blacktop and the gravel.”

Meet Kim Peterson

Peterson was born in Strawberry Point in Clayton County where her parents farmed. She subsequently graduated from Prairie Valley High School in 1976.

Between them, she and her husband have six adult children and 18 grandchildren. Kent Peterson is a retired propane maintenance specialist.

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