Springing ahead

Green Thumb Greenhouse getting ready for the season

Eloise Ogden/MDN Calvin Berry, co-owner of Green Thumb Greenhouse, west of Minot, said container gardening is a popular way to grow flowers and vegetables.


etting ready for spring starts early at Green Thumb Greenhouse, west of Minot.

Actually, spring’s now just around the corner. The season officially begins on Monday.

Calvin Berry, along with his wife, Ashley, own Green Thumb Greenhouse. This week, he talked about getting ready for the spring season.

“Starting at the end of April people will start getting their gardens ready, getting rid of the old debris, getting their gardens tilled up and putting down the fertilizers if they are going to,” he said.

“Then they start with the early crops like potatoes, onions and cabbage,” he said. This is followed with crops like peas and beans and then later cucumbers, peppers, etc.

Eloise Ogden/MDN Succulents are easy to grow and need little care. They can be indoors or outdoors and planted in containers, as wall hangings and even as chair decorations.

He said Memorial Day really kicks off the gardening season. “Most people say it’s safe (to plant) around then,” Berry said.

Planting pots

Berry said people will start bringing pots to them to plant early.

“They bring their pots out, we plant them and then they come back. We just ask them to pick them up before Memorial Day,” he said.

By having pots planted with flowers at that time, he said those customers are ahead with their planting instead of having to stick little plant plugs into the pots at the end of May or early June.

He said some people know exactly what they want before they visit Green Thumb Greenhouse.

“We also have the other people who come out here, they tell us what side of the house it will be on and whether it’s full sun or shade,” he said. He said those customers will tell them what color flowers they want and Green Thumb Greenhouse puts everything together for them.

We go both ways – whether they know exactly what they want or we can help them out,” he said.

If someone lives in an apartment, he said they can still do some gardening.

“A big thing nowadays is container gardening,” said Berry. Besides flowers, he said people are planting tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, herbs, etc., in containers. They can put those containers on their balcony and can enjoy fresh produce from those plants.

He said they will also plant pots for people with vegetables and herbs.

“It seems like more people are going to flower pots and not as many people are doing the flower beds anymore,” Berry said.

He said some containers have a 10-year warranty.


Berry said many people have been getting into growing succulents. “It’s been a trend over the last few years,” he said.

He said succulents don’t require a lot of maintenance. “You can water them like once a week and they can go indoors or outdoors,” he said.

Although many plants need attention Berry said people are going to self-watering pots. “That buys you a few days but still you can’t just let be,” he said. “We’ve got some (self-watering pots) that will tell you exactly how much water is in there so that sure helps.”

Giant pumpkins

“One thing that we do that carries over into Berry Acres is growing a giant pumpkin,” Berry said.

Berry Acres, an idea developed by Calvin and Ashley Berry, is held in the fall at Green Thumb Greenhouse site when many families enjoy fall outdoor activities there.

“It was something to add some fall sales and really just to give kids something to do. We keep adding to it every year,” Calvin Berry said.

A giant pumpkin contest is part of the activities.

“We have the giant pumpkin contest but in order to be ready for that you have to get the pumpkins started early,” he said. “We always have either the seeds or the started pumpkins that people can buy so they can get ready for that contest.”

He said last year’s pumpkin contest winner grew a 1,100-pound pumpkin and the year before, the contest’s first year, the winner had a pumpkin weighing around 589 pounds.

He said they’ve also grown giant pumpkins at the greenhouse. He said Danny Gates, a staff member, grew a 1,600-pound pumpkin which is the North Dakota state record.

Berry said the pumpkin contest isn’t just for adults but all ages can take part in it. A boy in elementary school took third-place in the first-year contest.

“It’s nice getting the young interested,” Berry said.

Green Thumb Nursery is located one mile west of the U.S. 83 West Bypass on the Country Club Road.