Greenhouses in Carlton County prepare for season

Local greenhouse owners are ready to serve customers while following social distancing guidelines as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

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Jim Fahrenholz stands in front rows of a variety of young plants in one of several greenhouses that make up the Carlton Greenhouse in Carlton. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

Local greenhouses, deemed essential under Gov. Tim Walz's Stay at Home order, are busy preparing for the spring season as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Hammarlund Nursery in Esko is already open. Hillside Acres Greenhouse in Wrenshall set its first day for May 1, and The Green House in Carlton plans to open on May 5.

Owners of all three facilities say they plan to follow social distancing guidelines, which means they will limit the number of people in their buildings and ask people to stay at least six feet apart.

Jim Fahrenholz, owner of The Green House, said the facility has 20,000 square feet of space, which provides plenty of room for people to stay the state mandated six feet apart as they browse.

Jim and his wife, Shirley, plant 5,000 hanging baskets each year and sell about 10,000 geraniums, said Shirley.


They will also limit their planter classes to four people. The classes run from April 20-25 and April 27 to May 1.

The Green House includes a permanent structure in McGregor and summer pop-up stores in Cloquet, Hermantown, Duluth, Aitkin and Superior, Wisconsin. As of right now, the Fahrenholzes said they expect to run the summer pop-ups this year.

Heather Collum, owner of Hillside Acres Greenhouse, said she plans to set up hand sanitizer stations around the greenhouse to conform with public health recommendations. When socially-distanced, 25 people can be inside of her main greenhouse at a time.

Collum said she has plenty of vegetables and hanging baskets ready to go.

“It’s been an amazing growing season,” Collum said.

For the first time, she has tropical plants for sale, including hibiscus and banana trees.

Hammarlund Nursery owner Ken Hammarlund said he will have a smaller staff until he figures out how busy the nursery will be this year. He will limit the number of people inside the greenhouse and prefers as few family members as possible visit the nursery at a time.

He is currently working on an online store and plans to have it up and running by May 1.


Hammarlund Nursery offers a wide variety of heirloom vegetables grown with organic fertilizers.

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