A couple of years after Hasting Plants first opened, a newspaper reporter visited the seasonal greenhouse operation near Mount Vernon, Ind., and declared it to be “well worth the drive.”
The compliment transformed into a slogan, which drives Nancy Hasting as she works to grow and produce the best selection of plants for her customers.
Hasting opened 5 acres of U-Pick vegetables in 1982 with a used greenhouse. She slowly moved away from the vegetable fields and now owns four greenhouses and a store.
“I have always attributed my love for plants to my grandmother,” says Hasting, who is helped with maintenance by her husband Mike and by their daughter Diane Hasting Banks. Their son Daniel works in Indianapolis and designed the greenhouse’s website. “She was a great flower and vegetable gardener. We used to pour over seed catalogues together.”
Hasting studied horticulture at Purdue University and later taught horticulture at a vocational school near Paoli, Ind. But Hasting’s dream always was to have her own business.
Hasting begins working in January and is later joined by her six employees in February, who start planting and transplanting seedlings. Hasting says it’s all about playing the “space game.”
“If you take one tray of seedlings, then you transplant, you might get 10 times this space from one,” she says. “Once you start transplanting, it starts to fill everything up quickly. That’s what we are trying to fight especially this time of year. It is like your eyes are bigger than your stomach.”
The greenhouse operation opened for the spring March 17, and will hit its peak season during the last two weeks of April and the first two of May. The company has 70 to 80 percent of its sales during this time, Hasting says.
“Because we are seasonal, we don’t carry anything over and don’t have any stock plants,” Hasting says. “We grow plants locally that will come from all over the U.S. from different suppliers and we buy our seeds through several commercial companies, and the seeds themselves can come from all over the world.”
In addition to caring for the plants, Hasting also handles ordering the plants, accounting, and phone calls, while keeping weekly notes on seeds and each variety of plant with what worked and what didn’t.
“I have different perennials and annuals that you can’t find elsewhere,” she says. “What also brings people is it is locally grown and well cared for. I always say you can get good plants from places like large box stores, but you want to be there the day they come off the truck because they don’t really care for them like we do.”
For more information on Hasting Plants, call 812-838-2164 or visit hastingplants.com.