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Chocorua welcomes GrowGood Greenhouses to town

Business Brief

Flats of summer squash seedlings flourish beneath the hanging flower baskets at GrowGood Greenhouses. In the background, co-owner Gary Dall takes time to chat with a customer. To his left, against the far wall, lines of irrigation tubing run from a single pipe. Sara Young-Knox/Mountain Ear Photo). (click for larger version)
June 03, 2010
It is amazing to think that only a few short months ago all these delightful colors were contained in tiny seeds that were hardly big enough for a dream. GrowGood Greenhouses, which sprung up from the earth over this past winter, opened for business on May 1. The business is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.

The Route 16 property that New Hampshire natives Gary and Amy Dall started to build their greenhouses on last fall hardly seemed large enough for a greenhouse business, but the Dalls have done wonders working with the limited space. Besides their home, there are five greenhouses, totaling 8,000 square feet, on the .6 acres they own. Inside and outside the greenhouses are large selections of flowers, both hanging and potted, and six-packs of bedding annuals and vegetables. The six-packs go for $3. The hanging baskets are $23 and $40, depending on size and number of varieties in the basket.

"We consider ourselves responsible growers, we avoid chemical pesticides and herbicides, and believe in providing an excellent quality product at a very reasonable price," Amy says. Everything is started from seed. The large decorative items and perennials are started in February, and from then until May 1 the Dalls stick to a weekly planting schedule. Vegetables and bedding annuals get started in plug trays and then are transplanted to their finish containers.

On a recent sunny day one of their employees, Kay Dallon, was busy transplanting young petunias into roomier containers. The vigorous health of their plants is no doubt due to the close attention each plant gets, the abundant light shining through the Clear Span greenhouses, and the efficient watering system. The greenhouse plants are watered through an irrigation system that runs along the metal framing of the ceiling. Outside plants are watered by hand, a task which starts in the morning and continues throughout the day.

The couple isn't new to agriculture. After meeting and marrying while still living in the Concord/Barnstead area, they moved to Litchfield, N.Y., in 2000 to start a farm.

"After only six years," Amy says, "we had developed a u-pick strawberry farm and along the way we had really tumbled into the growing business. Being the new kids on the block, we made an effort to learn how to grow the best product available. Our customers responded and we grew in size very quickly."

Their eight-miles off the beaten path location had its drawbacks, though, as did the distance they were from their New Hampshire family and friends. With a growing family of their own, they decided to move back home. They sold their New York home and business in 2007, eventually settling in Chocorua.

"We renovated the house we live in and weren't sure we wanted to establish our business here," Amy recounts. "But through living here for only a few months, we absolutely fell in love with the area, made great friends and became very connected to the deep sense of community and responsibility in the Mt. Washington Valley area."

"Everything has just sort of fallen into place, and we most definitely feel at home, love being here and love how welcoming the community has been to us," she adds.

Chatting with a customer, Gary says the location has worked out well, and that business has exceeded their expectations. As the season continues, they will offer more potted plants, a product particularly attractive to seasonal residents.

Amy says, "We aren't out to get rich, we love the business we're in and as long as we pay the bills, and are able to do it all again next year, we consider ourselves profitable!"

Martin Lord Osman
Martin Lord & Osman
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