In his watering practices, Kevin Kraszeski could be the envy of many growers — he says he basically waters when he wants and doesn’t run into many issues.
“I think that you might say that I’m kind of a dry grower,” says Kraszeski, owner of Kevin’s Greenhouses in Berlin, Massachusetts. He uses ebb-and-flow and drip irrigation, helping him save on labor as he maintains a roughly 35,000-square-foot operation with one full-time employee and some seasonal help.
His greenhouses are also on a hill and get southern exposure that may help keep the plants dry.
Kraszeski doesn’t drench for root rot problems, but he does tank-mix and spray products both preventively and curatively to control Botrytis and insect pest issues.
In 1976, Kraszeski bought the property — with some greenhouses already in place — which became Kevin’s Greenhouses. Over the years, he has learned what works. At the moment, SunPatiens and geraniums are top sellers, he says, and his main customers are management companies that own residential properties.
“I just supply them with flowers and then they plant them, or they have outside help plant them,” he says.
Kevin’s Greenhouses has some independent garden center customers. But he says some of the wholesale and retail flower businesses in the area have closed shop because many lacked succession plans.
Kraszeski doesn’t have a succession plan in place himself, and says his children have jobs that offer higher pay than they would make at the greenhouse.
Right now, nothing is stopping Kraszeski from pushing on with his business. He has 19 greenhouses — a combination of poly, conventional glass and Dutch glass structures — and automates using flat fillers, heating and ventilation. He expects to turn a profit in 2019 and 2020.
“I physically can still do it, so I’m going to keep doing it,” he says.