Ramona Tennant feels like she has to qualify her job every time somebody asks her what she does for a living.
She hears all of the stereotypes and reads all of the misinformation that liken what she does on a daily basis to helping people grow and cultivate gardens of their own herbs that may or may not be legal – depending on which law enforcement organization you happen to ask.
It’s a day in the life of a hydroponics sales associate. And it’s something that Tennant – a staffer at B&S Gardening Supplies – wishes people would take the time to truly understand.
“That’s really not what it’s all about,” she said of the common belief that hydroponics is a system just used to grow medical marijuana. “Anything you can grow outdoors, you can grow indoors – tomatoes, carrots, anything. That’s what people really don’t realize.”
Inside of the shop there is a wide a wide assortment of fertilizers, growth additives, organic pesticides and just about anything else you’d need to take your garden from the backyard to the spare bedroom.
One of the biggest benefits, Tennant says, is that if controlled properly indoor gardens don’t have nearly the problem with pests that their outdoor counterparts do. That means less maintenance and attention.
Some of the customers that come in, she says, are looking to take their organic living to the next level. Others want to observe every part of the growth process because they either have allergies or don’t trust what they see in the store.
“Some of our customers want to make sure that it’s grown organically because they don’t know how the fruit and vegetables they’re buying that say they’re organic are handled or processed,” she said. “Others want to have certain types year round, and you’re able to do that when you move indoors.”
The initial startup costs include lighting, irrigation and a reflective covering that goes around the garden to mimic sunlight for a 12-hour period. Those can be offset, she said, by money saved by growing for yourself.
G&S owner Brad Wickliffe says that they encourage organic options for controlling pests that might infiltrate a garden, and offers a wide-array of options that utilize naturally occurring substances like rosemary to eliminate the problem. Ladybugs are also a big seller.
“We have products here for outdoor growing as well, but what we try to do is mimic the natural environment when growing indoors,” he said. “That’s what a lot of the additives do. It’s making it seem like it’s happening in your backyard garden.”
G&S Garden Supply is located at 592 Commerce Court. The business is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For additional information, contact the store at 239-8648.