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St. Ignatius company offers greenhouse kits

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ST. IGNATIUS — A nationwide trend for homegrown food has resulted in more and more people taking up gardening and raising vegetables, fruits and flowers.

To assist gardeners, Ed and Brenda Beachy from Montana Bird & Garden have developed inexpensive greenhouse kits. If a family has a greenhouse, plants can be started from seed. And that’s a win-win situation for the Beachys since they also own Berlin Seeds, a mail order seed company located in Berlin, Ohio.

“Seed businesses across the board are doing great,” Ed said.

The Beachys belong to a home garden seed association started by seed producers and mail order people. The businesses help each other promote seeds so customers will order seeds instead of buying plants from a greenhouse.  

Investing in a home greenhouse made sense to the Beachys. Their greenhouse kits come in three sizes: 8’ x 8’, 8’ x 12’ and 8’ x 16’. The kits are priced at $195, $275 and $350 for the different sizes, but customers have to provide their own lumber which adds $100 to $200 to the cost. 

The Beachys provide the hardware, two layers of 6-ml. greenhouse plastic and instructions. Ed said the plastic lasts four years. Most kits are Fed Ex ground shipped back east, but Ed hopes local gardeners may want a greenhouse. 

If a customer wants to upgrade a greenhouse, Ed also sells a more expensive 8 m. twin wall polycarbonate that lasts at least 15 years. 

Ed said he located a thick 10 m. laminated plastic, which is “very transparent, very tough.” In addition the plastic can “take wind, snow, anything.”

People can stop in at 32040 Allison Road, St. Ignatius, and Ed can tell them their options.   
The Beachys have their own “dream greenhouse” although it’s a little more luxe than the smaller ones they sell. It has a wood stove plus about $4,000 worth of materials, and they did all the work themselves.
Already some sturdy, healthy tomato plants are blooming in the Beachy greenhouse. Trays of tiny tomatoes and radishes are raising their leaves to the sun so they can grow enough to be transplanted outside in the Beachys' garden.
“We’re in a zone 5 growing season here,” Ed said. 
The lower the number of the zone, the colder it is Ed explained. Ohio, where the Beachys moved from, is also a zone 5. Montana’s growing season is slightly shorter than Ohio’s, however. Most of Montana is a zone 4 or even a 3, Beachy said. 
When considering what seeds to buy, check the seed catalog of website to make sure the seeds will work in a zone 5. 
The Beachys have a large garden and have thought about teaching gardening and canning classes. Mostly, Ed said, the greenhouses are a way to help people grow their own food. 
“There’s plenty of land,” Ed said.  
The Beachy family will be showcasing their greenhouses at the Great Falls Home Show and the Missoula Home and Garden Show during the last weekend in March, so interested parties can take a look. 
For more information on the greenhouses, please call 406- 745-5115.

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