When Travis and Kendra Walker purchased an acreage east of Rivers in 2016, it just happened to include four large greenhouse structures that the previous owner had built on his farm.
“I was always interested in the greenhouse business so when the acreage we purchased came with greenhouses it seemed like a good time to give it a shot. The structures needed a lot of work and upgrades and they are a work in progress, but we are working on doing so. Managing our time is a challenge occasionally, as Kendra is principal at Oak River School and I own/operate a mobile disc jockey business (Party Jockeys Music) so finding time for everything can be tricky,” said Travis.
They start the planning and ordering process in September, to make sure they can get their name in for all the products they need if they have to bring any in. From there, the planting/seeding portion of their business starts the second week in March.
“We encourage anyone who wants something special to let us know as soon as they can so we can have time to source it out, as some things can be trickier to produce than others,” said Walker.
“We have noticed an increase in demand for transplant vegetables. The growing season in Manitoba is short and increasingly unpredictable so having a jump-start on your garden seems to be a popular choice. We are already making a list of things we would like to introduce as transplants for coming years as well. We are basically annuals but over the past couple of years we have expanded into a few other items like shrubs, perennials, fruit trees, and planters,” said Walker.
The Walkers have opened a small retail greenhouse located at Travis’s family’s farm eight miles north of Holland on Highway 34. They do all the growing and raising of plants at their Rivers location but ship stock to Holland weekly to keep them well supplied. It’s a perfect fit for a second location as it is where Travis grew up and they knew there weren’t a lot of greenhouses in the area.
“The response at our Holland greenhouse has been great. We are providing the community of Holland for the first time with plants to beautify the town. This year we are also providing some of the plants for the town of Rivers. We have for the past two seasons provided product for a fundraiser run by the Rivers Kids club which seems to be well received in our area,” said Walker.
Kendra and Travis are enjoying their new venture and are looking forward to where it takes them. They find it a great opportunity to get to know the people in their new community.