WASHBURN COUNTY -- Gardening this year is one of the positive things for which we can thank COVID. Last year some people were so unused to living with their own families they needed to find something to do while they stayed home observing social distancing.

Many turned to sprucing up their yards and gardens. It was an outdoor activity, the yard was already there, and maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to put in a small garden of organic foods. Perhaps it was to teach the kids that this is where our food originates.

Whatever the reason, gardening became paramount for people's "leisure" time. As long as they were working from home anyway, it was easy to take a break from the computer and head outside for a while.

Now that it's spring and restrictions are being lifted every day, people are still gardening. This looks like another power year for the greenhouses everywhere.

Or maybe not. If you've visited a big box store recently, you will see first-hand what the lack of employees looks like. Not only do you have to check yourself out in some stores, but many stores that are selling plants already have row after row of some pretty sorry-looking stuff. No one is watering these acres of blooms, and prices have gone up to boot.

If you've been searching for that old-fashioned greenhouse, look no further. The KDJ's Greenhouses are open and loaded with unusual plants that are healthy, hearty, and ready to go at reasonable prices.

Debbie and Jeff Powers, neither of which grew up in the country, have owned and operated their impressive greenhouses since their move from the far south side of Chicago in the late nineties.

Jeff is clueless about how his passion for growing things started. Still, after starting a small business in his back yard selling hanging baskets to his neighbors in Lockport, Illinois, Jeff was hooked. He had a mother and a brother living in the Spooner area, so when the couple decided that growing plants was their future, they moved 430 miles north and never looked back.

Now KDJ's Greenhouses has grown to three polytunnels, 30x72, 20x100 and, 20x72. The outdoor space is filled with plants and trees; they carry over 60 percent annuals, forty percent perennials, a wide selection of hanging baskets, and vegetables, vegetables, vegetables.

KDJ's does not carry garden art or pretties, just well-grown, healthy plants and trees and a limited amount of bags of dirt or compost at the beginning of the season.

They do recommend a product they carry and use, along with the soil, in all the hanging baskets. It's called Soil Moist. It's a product that, when watered, swells in size and releases the water slowly to the plant. Debbie recommends it for cabin owners to use on everything they plant, thereby preventing their pots and plants from drying out when the owners are gone.

Everything they sell is for zone three to four. Free education and information is available from the owners on everything they sell.

Wave petunias, geraniums, and Gerbera Daisy's are some of their best sellers, but others are catching up. Like hollyhocks, lupines, and even the purple potato sets.

The large pots of patio tomatoes go fast, as do the 19 varieties of regular tomatoes and 15 types of peppers.

The Powers also raise chickens, so sometimes there are eggs for sale. The same thing is going for the honey produced by their bees. "Kitty" usually sleeps the entire day and can often be found stretched out in a planting flat somewhere.

For a couple who started their business in their Chicago kitchen, they've come a long way. It's worth a visit to see them, or check them out at KDJ's Greenhouses on FaceBook.

Next time you're on your Sunday drive, stop by their place at 2362 Black Brook Rd Spooner, WI 54801. They not only take cash, checks, and charge cards, but they also have gift cards.


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