Greenhouses: Family, food and flowers (regional, too!).

Spring greenhouse ready for Bussiness.
Spring greenhouse ready for Bussiness.

As we’ve anxiously await warmer weather condition and the start of the planting season, I began taking a look at greenhouses around the Iron Range area. A lot of them are family operations of long period of time, some with second, third or 4th generations involved in ownership or operation.

A number of greenhouses are profiled in this week s Hometown Focus. Here’s a quick look at four other location wooden greenhouse that have been assisting the rest of us grow our gardens and fill our flower pots for many years.


CHISHOLM Val’s Greenhouse was a fixture in Chisholm for decades. Heidi (Amistadi) Nyhus, the youngest of the seven children of Romolo and Val Amistadi (owner of Val s Greenhouse) was 2-years old when the greenhouse opened. She is referred to as The Flower Child.

After 35 years, Val retired and the greenhouse was closed. Well, possibly not including ALL of the many greenhouses that consisted of Val s Greenhouse. Heidi s Greenhouse opened in the spring of 2005 with one greenhouse.

Her year begins on January 18, getting ready to be open for Administrative Professionals Day (previously known as National Secretary’s Day) in April. She will sell out by the end of June. She carries a range of flowers, veggies and herbs. Her hanging baskets (and everything else) looked remarkable this week.

Heidi recommends waiting up until Memorial Weekend to plant, however stated that waiting till mid-June is great too. She has actually seen that more people appear to be getting into planting possibly as an outcome of the economy being down with lots of choosing container planting or raised beds.

HEIDI’S GARDENING TIP: Remember to put the green side up and you’ll be all right, she said.


CHERRY/CHISHOLM Ron and Dianne Sikkila bought their home in Cherry (on Townline Road east of Hibbing) in 1974 and a small greenhouse was located on the property, which the couple operates to this day. Maturing their children and now their grandchildren all worked at the greenhouse.

In 2000 they added a 2nd location when they purchased a small Beier’s Greenhouse satellite business in Chisholm. In 2008 they totally reconstructed the Chisholm location of the Cherry Greenhouse. About 10 years back, Ron and Dianne s boy Jon ended up being the 3rd owner of business.

They aim to be a total garden center, providing anything a gardener may need, Ron informed me this week. And we just sell plants that are appropriate for the area.

The business s Cherry location stays open till mid-July each year, while the Chisholm location is open about a month longer. 136 into Chisholm which passes by the Chisholm Cherry Greenhouse.

Next year’s Phase II consists of developing a roundabout crossway where Hwy. 136 meets T.H. 73 a really short distance from the greenhouse.

RON’S GARDENING TIP: Don’t plant too early, he said. People get antsy to plant; however make the error of planting prior to the ground has warmed up. Now, he stated, the ground isn’t warm enough for many plants.


EVELETH Owners of Kunnari Greenhouse are Jack and Mariann Kunnari, who have actually owned the greenhouse since 2000. Business was previously K & B Greenhouse which was started in 1982. Updates and growth have actually come throughout Jack and Mariann’s ownership of the greenhouse.

Kunnari Greenhouse specializes mostly in annuals and baskets, but they likewise have veggie plants.

JACK S GARDENING TIP: Enjoy it, he stated. Don’t make it a task. One way to do that is to plant in phases.

Space veggies grown in Dutch greenhouses


ESTABLISHING a human colony on the Moon and travelling to Mars has actually been the stuff of dreams since the dawn of the space age.

These visions face lots of obstacles. How can humans survive for months or years in the ultra-hostile environment of space? What, for example, will they eat?

Agricultural scientists at a Dutch university say they are taking the primary steps towards supplying a response.

They are growing veggies in soils just like those found on the Moon and Mars, trying to find ways of helping space pioneers grow their own crops.

When individuals go to the Moon and Mars they likewise need to eat, and it’s most convenient for them to grow their own food, said Wieger Wamelink, surrounded by numerous lots plants in a unique greenhouse at Wageningen, an agricultural university in central Netherlands.

We wanted to use genuine Martian and lunar soil, to see if plants would actually grow in it, Wamelink stated.

Of course, getting real lunar and Martian potting soil is a difficult asks. An Internet search revealed a not likely supplier: NASA.

The United States space agency makes ground much like that on the Moon from sand found in an Arizona desert, while Mars crimson soil is scooped from a volcano in Hawaii, Wamelink said.

The very first experiments began in 2013 after Wageningen received an order of 100 kgs of NASA’s replica space soil at a significant cost of 2,000 euros (US$ 2,285).

Wamelink stuck tomatoes, peas, cress and other plants in pots including the simulated soil and crossed his fingers.

To operate in this soil was very unique. Nobody, not even NASA, might inform us exactly what would happen, even simply by just including water, he said.

The imitation ground in the beginning was a little hesitant to soak up water, but soon ended up being great potting soil.

Like the actor Matt Damon in the science fiction movie The Martian, Wamelink enjoyed with awe as his space veggies grew larger day-by-day.

Particularly in the Martian soil, plants were growing very quick and very good. They even started to flower, something that we never prepared for, Wamelink said. The 50-day experiment was written up in the science journal PLOS One in August 2014.

Safe for people?

An important question however stays whether these unusual vegetables are safe to eat.

Martian and lunar soil, consisting of NASA s own imitation, might consist of heavy metals that are safe to plants but might prove deadly to humans.

Wamelink has actually come up with a possible option. If analyses show that the veggies include arsenic, mercury or iron making them unfit for human consumption, the soil can be cleansed by growing other plant types such as violets which soak up the toxins.

Wamelink yields that the experiment has a downside it is being conducted in non-sterile conditions on Earth where only the nutrient quality of the soil is being evaluated.

There s a lot more to test, Wamelink confessed.

Exceptionally cold temperatures dropping to minus 62 degrees Celsius on Mars as well as an absence of oxygen means that lunar or Martian veggies and fruit might just be grown in a closed and controlled environment.

The center would have to be pressurized to typical atmospheric conditions in the world, heated and lit, and protected from cosmic radiation, which damages plant DNA.

Those points to a space greenhouse a type of container buried underground and kitted out with photovoltaic panels and LED lighting. Water should be no problem as it is found as ice on both the Moon and Mars, stated Wamelink.

Other questions that require responses consist of the presence of friendly bacteria to help plant development and what takes place to plants that grow in low gravity.

Long method to go

NASA prepares a human journey to Mars within the next 10 to 15 years approximately but comparable strategies are also being pursued by billionaire Elon Musk and the Dutch company Mars One, tentatively intending to establish human colonies on the Red Planet.

Technology and the expertise to keep astronauts alive on Mars still has a long method to go said Christophe Lasseur, a European Space Agency (ESA) Life Support expert, who deals with metabolic elements of space travel.

Lasseur believed Wamelink s research of growing plants in space soils is not a priority.

He stated other requirements for space survival like the appropriate facilities to grow similar vegetables in labs was far more important to supply optimal reliability for future groups.

We should regard a plant as a piece of technology and comprehend precisely what occurs to it initially. All chemical, microbiological and physiological elements (of plants in extraterrestrial conditions) need to be comprehended and mapped. We cannot take threats.

Shady Acres Herb Farm closing Chaska greenhouses after 39 years


Theresa and Jim Mieseler grew and offered herbs and vegetables for 39 years at Shady Acres Herb Farm in Chaska, which is closing June 12.

For virtually four years, Theresa Mieseler has actually been a go-to source of plants and expertise for gardeners who wish to grow herbs. In the mid-1970’s, when she was positioned in charge of the herb gardens at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum by then-director Leon Snyder, she admits she was clueless.

I told him I put on to understand exactly what an herb is, recalled Mieseler.

She was a quick research study. Quickly she belonged to regional and global herb societies, and she and her spouse, Jim, were cultivating their own herb gardens, consisting of uncommon varieties, on their acreage in Chaska.

In 1977, the Mieselers turned their seedlings grown in Dixie cups in their basement into Shady Acres Herb Farm, where they ultimately cultivated and sold about 600 varieties of cooking herbs and vegetables including heirloom tomatoes and peppers in 8 greenhouses.

After 39 years, the couple, both in their 60’s, are hanging up their trowels since June 12.

It got to be a great deal of work, and Jim has back issues, stated Theresa, who added that they’re not selling or leasing the herb farm. Now was the time to retire.

The resourceful couple worked all year long on the farm, planting seedlings in the greenhouses in February and wrapping up the selling season in mid-June. They also held herb-related classes and events and opened a gift store.

We never ever dreamed that it would be such a wonderful business to be in and how it made people delighted, said Theresa, noting that they’ve made friends with garden enthusiasts all over the world who share their enthusiasm for herbs.

Shady Acres and its comprehensive, delicious array will be missed out on by Twin Cities herb enthusiasts, judging from e-mails and call to the Mieselers since they announced the closing. The couple even planted flats of specialized herbs for some of their loyal clients.

Now I m questioning where I m going to find mrihani basil, said Theresa.

Last herb hurrah

Shady Acres closing sale is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 9-11, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 12, with plants, containers and pots offered at half-price.

The Mieselers likewise will set up a big tent for their last Garden Salon from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 27, featuring herb-related lectures, workshops, presentations and lunch at 7815 Hwy. 212, Chaska. Cost is $65. Register at by June 20.