Garden Valley Growers
Warm Springs Greenhouse is tucked away in beautiful Garden Valley, Idaho. We wound our way up into mountains along the river, down a dirt road to the 4 acres of land with greenhouses nestled in between the tree-covered slopes. We were greeted by Rambo the dog, but Max the Maltese mix turned out to be our tour guide for the day. Leigh and Jan Ward run Warm Springs Greenhouse, which provides the Co-op with beautiful plants and hanging baskets throughout the spring and summer.
The greenhouses are literally heated by a warm spring that runs next to the property. The water is so hot you can’t touch it with your bare hands. Since the water has a high ph and contains sodium fluoride, they are unable to use it for watering the plants. Instead, the hot water is sent through pipes throughout each of the greenhouses, which radiates from the pipes to heat the greenhouse, thus eliminating the need to provide any additional heating, even during the harsh Idaho mountain winters.
The business was started by Leigh’s father in 1970, after he got out the tree felling business. He started out growing cut flowers, and moved into more and more types of plants. They have since moved away from cut flowers and now focus on potted plants. These are mostly flowers, but also succulents and herbs.
Leigh took over the business in 2000 and now runs it with help from his wife Jan. Jan is also full time teacher, so she helps with the business on evenings and weekends. We were there during spring break, so she was catching up on some paperwork and availability lists.
The irrigation system throughout the greenhouses has individual nozzles for each of the plants. The individual watering valves are turned on and off at each plant, to ensure that none of them are over- or under-watered. It's a surprisingly personalized system for the number of plants that they are growing, and shows the amount of care and attention that goes into it.
Growing Plants is Addictive
When we asked Leigh why he did it—all the hard work, the long days, this was his response: “Growing plants is addictive”. It’s clear to see that it’s true, and it’s easy to see why after walking around in warm, humid greenhouses filled with beautiful flowers. It’s hard to be grumpy when you’re in an environment like that.
Warm Springs Snapshot
- Started in 1970
- Selling to the Boise Co-op since 1997
- 40,000 square feet of greenhouse space
- Heated by water from the nearby geothermal spring
- Grows mostly flowers and some herbs and succulents
- At any given time, they employ 8-10 people
- Distribute throughout the Treasure Valley as well as Oregon and McCall