Bremen-Based Shop Provides a One-Stop Solution for Gardening Needs
Writer / Angela Cornell
Gardening has distinct and unique benefits.
“For me it’s an absolute stress reliever,” says Mark Chupp, owner of Birch Road Greenhouse. “Going in the garden is refreshing. That would be one of the greatest benefits, besides the healthy food aspect of it.”
Birch Road Greenhouse is nearly a one-stop shop for gardening needs.
“We sell pretty much the whole line of gardening supplies,” Chupp says.
This includes about 160 different kinds of seeds, plants, trees of both the landscaping and fruit variety, shrubs, tools, a full line of fertilizers, and more. Chupp also offers organic options.
Chupp loves his work, but he has a special passion for fruit trees, and loves getting his customers established with their own orchards. Not only does he have tools and sprays for fruit trees, but he also receives orders for trees throughout the year and places them in the spring.
“When they arrive, I put out all the calls and people come and pick up their stuff,” he says. “It’s a unique service. There’s nothing better than going out to your orchard and picking your own fruit that you helped raise.”
This year, he is carrying one more product – bulk natural hardwood mulch, available in black, brown and red – all locally sourced from a tree-trimming service called Tree Servants.
“As far as plants go, we try to keep it colorful,” Chupp says. “We’re always bringing in new stuff, trying new things instead of year after year doing the same thing. We try to keep it interesting.”
Although he brings in a wide variety of flowers from acclaimed brands like Proven Winners, his vegetables are started from seed in-house. He offers dozens of vegetable and herb varieties.
“I do use some insecticides, but I know what’s on it,” Chupp says. “I don’t use harsh chemicals and I most certainly don’t use growth regulators like a lot of the big operations.”
It’s something that his customers appreciate and keep coming back for.
“We get a lot of compliments on how well the plants do after they’re transplanted into the garden,” he says.
As his customers know, Chupp is very helpful when it comes to gardening problems.
“People bring a little leaf or an insect that’s on their plants, and I help identify it and help them fix the problem,” he says.
Chupp has some bits of advice for those who are beginning to garden in earnest. First of all, don’t overbuy seeds. Seed farmers do not produce every type of seed every year. Seeds produced last year will last at least three years, if properly stored in a climate-controlled area.
“Seeds are tight this year,” he says. “People are overbuying and they don’t need to. If you try to overbuy and you keep the seeds over, they will not last.”
Second, gardening requires time. Before planting, plan out the garden so you know how much you’ll need.
“Plan out what you want to raise and what your goal is for that year,” Chupp says. “If you’re new, I’d recommend starting a little smaller. If you’ve been doing it for a while, and it’s just not performing the way you’d like, get your soil tested.”
This can be done through the local Purdue Extension office. For those who prefer another option, Chupp has a partner in the Nappanee area who can help.
Third, after planting, set aside a time every week to take care of the plot.
“Stay on top of your gardening and don’t let it get out of control, like with a weed problem,” Chupp says. “It takes a little bit of time every week. If you don’t keep up on it, it will get out of hand and you’ll get frustrated.”
Fourth, garden to preserve, which will help protect your family from shortages.
“Can a little extra,” he says. “Freeze a little extra, but don’t go crazy. That leaves more seeds for others and for next year. Provide healthy food for your family, not store-bought canned food.”
Birch Road Greenhouse is located at 3050 Birch Road in Bremen. For more info, call 574-248-1610 or visit birchroadgreenhouse.com.