ENDICOTT, NY – Food and Farm Showcase returns with a visit to a garden grower and retailer that is bracing for its frenzied season.

Nanticoke Gardens on Route 26 in Town of Union has 160 thousand square feet of greenhouse space growing a wide variety of annual and perennial flowers, vegetables and herbs.

The garden center was started by Don Ferguson in 1973 with one greenhouse.

Brothers Chip and Peter Shafer bought the business in 2011 and have been expanding it ever since.

From the middle of December when they first start planting seedlings inside the greenhouses, it’s 12 hour days, 7 days a week while they prepare for opening day of their retail operation which is this Monday.

Peter says hanging flower baskets are their most popular item.

“We’re starting most of our hanging baskets in January or February. By the time people are coming to buy them, they’re already in full bloom and they’re full and ready to put on display. So, somebody could take them home and hang them right on their porch and they’re ready to enjoy,” says Shafer.

Shafer says the wide variety of vegetables are also popular with gardeners, including 57 varieties of tomato and 3 different really hot peppers.

He says the pandemic has introduced a lot of people to gardening.

“We’ve seen an influx of new gardeners, people with a lot of questions, that you can tell they might be a novice. So, it’s exciting to help those folks out. And what’s more exciting is to see them come back again the next year because you know you retained that interest and you might have a customer for a long time,” says Shafer.

Once the Spring season winds down at the end of June, Nanticoke Gardens puts its 6 year-round employees to work on growing mums, pansies and kale which are only sold wholesale.

Then, as winter approaches, wholesale poinsettias and wreaths that are also used in fundraising campaigns.
Starting Monday, Nanticoke Gardens is open Monday through Saturday from 8 to 8 and Sundays 9 to 5.
You can see a full list of what they start the season off with at NanticokeGardens.com.