If your flowerbed is still bare or your garden still needs filled, there’s a spot you should probably check out just a short drive out of town on Quarry – Browns Lake Road. Going strong since 2014, Lehman’s Greenhouse is bursting at the seams full of perennials, annuals, vegetables and fruits. Much of it grown from a little seedling here in the valley.
Owned by Jesse and Emily Lehman, who moved to the area 10 years ago, the greenhouse is actually a continuation of Bluestar Greenhouse that was once out on 6-mile road. The Lehmans were able to purchase one greenhouse from the former business.
“I grew up in agriculture but horticulture was a different ballpark but Liz Wallin passed along a lot of information from her business to us,” Jesse said. “She was very generous in passing previous customers to us. Admittedly, it was a fairly simple startup since it was already an established business.”
The hardest thing he found was learning how to grow the plants – his produce market customers and Bluestar’s customers responded quickly to the new venture.
Emily’s mother was a consistent customer of Bluestar, so when she learned it was for sale she suggested that the Lehmans take it over.
Having grown produce for the past five years, they were no stranger to growing things. The first year they got one greenhouse and then another to boost their space to 1,500-square feet.
“And that’s barely enough space,” Jesse said. “We were lucky since it was a gentle early spring so we were able to move baskets outside.”
Lehman’s greenhouse season lasted from February to the end of June last year. Jesse is manning the greenhouse six days a week for at least nine hours. He does most of the work, though they do get some part-time help during the busiest part of the season. Emily designs the hanging baskets, and helps during the season when possible, but family comes first for her. You will more than likely see some of their five children helping customers.
“Our children like to get in the dirt as well,” Jesse said.
Mother’s Day weekends are “mayhem” according to Lehman, although most other days are pretty healthy with traffic every day and its growing each year. As the customer count rises, they are committed to having more staff on hand in order to help each one in a personal way when needed.
“People are interested in going to a greenhouse where stuff is grown and not in a retail center like Walmart or Home Depot,” Jesse said.
Annual flowers are the bestsellers with vegetable starts a close runner-up as more people are becoming interested in growing their own food. They also do custom planters – an individual can bring in their planter or basket to be made to their own specifications, or Lehman’s can just choose plants and bring variety to their usual ways of doing them.
Usually the greenhouse ends its season in the beginning of June but was able to go to the middle of June last year.
“We want to provide product as long as there is a need,” Jesse says. The hope is that eventually they’ll be able to provide fall color flowers for people.
At night, the greenhouse stays at 60 degrees and during the day, ventilation starts at 70 degrees.
“I can control heat but my challenge is getting sunlight,” Jesse said. “Foggy winter/spring mornings are the worst.”
Sitting on the lip of the valley up Quarry – Browns Lake Road, Lehman’s farm sits where fog can lay in and blanket the area, or rise just high enough to where it still blocks out the sun. Jesse does have lights that he uses, though nothing is as effective as sunlight.
Most of the flowers at the greenhouse are grown by seed and/or plugs. The Lehmans take great care of their plants and the result is overflowing flower baskets that get people’s attention. There is, however, a long period of growing and nurturing to get to that point.
“We do have some wholesale suppliers down in the Spokane area that we can fall back on if we are running out of product, but our long range goal is grow it ourselves.” Some of the flowers are a licensed product, so they aren’t allowed to propagate them.
The greenhouse is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
More information on the greenhouse can be found at lehmansgreenhouse.com.
By Brandon Hansen/The Independent Staff