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Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on November 25th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 38 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 38

Spotlight on: Down to Earth Gardening Solutions

Adrienne Veillette, and Seamus and Nathaniel Ethridge, owners

BY AMY ASMAN


THE GARDENING TEAM
(From left to right) Nathaniel Ethridge and his brother Seamus surveyed their new store, Down to Earth Gardening Solutions, with partner Adrienne Veillette. The trio will be host to a grand opening celebration at the Buellton-based business on Nov. 30.
PHOTO BY AMY ASMAN

In an industrial storefront tucked behind 2 Amigos Auto Repair in Buellton, there’s a secret garden supply shop where green thumbs can get everything they need to grow delicious organic food.

By Saturday, Nov. 30, however, the secret will be out, as storeowners Adrienne Veillette and Seamus and Nathaniel Ethridge welcome customers through their door for a grand opening event featuring refreshments and door prizes. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., gardening enthusiasts and novices alike will enjoy a 20 percent discount on all items in the store, including books and organic seeds, mulch, soil amendments, and more.

“It’s hard to find organic everything or organic anything in some places,” Seamus said.

Added Veillette, “For a long time, we were driving to Santa Barbara to get what we needed.”

So the three entrepreneurs opened Down to Earth Gardening Solutions to provide valley residents with supplies for organic and heirloom gardening.

“So many people want to know where their food comes from and how it’s been treated or, in this case, not treated,” Seamus said.

The brothers said the store is something they’ve been talking and dreaming about for years. Though they have different mothers and 15 years between them, both Ethridges have loved gardening from a young age.

“Our [paternal] grandmother was an avid gardener,” Nathaniel said, adding that each of the men’s mothers took part in their soil-bound education.

Added Seamus, “I always had my hands in the dirt and I had a garden in every place I lived.”

Veillette learned to garden from a young age as well. It’s this passionate, homegrown way of life that they’re trying to perpetuate.

“There’s been such a chemical culture in agriculture and even backyard gardening,” Seamus said. “[The key is] to start with good soil and to put nutrients back into it so your plants will thrive.”

The business owners want their customers to thrive as well. They plan to start offering workshops on various gardening-related topics, including beekeeping, homesteading, and greenhouse and indoor applications. Nathaniel said the first workshop will probably be on native plants, but a date has yet to be scheduled. Most of the merchandise at Down to Earth sits on rolling shelves so it can be moved to create space for the workshops.

Veillette and the Ethridges are working on getting their nursery stock certificate, so they can’t sell living plants yet—“We’re hoping to have [the certificate] by April,” Veillette said—but there are still plenty of worthwhile supplies.

The brothers built an “amendments bar” with glass-topped containers for a range of “meal” powders, from blood to bone to fish meal, for compost tea. (Vegan customers, take heart: They also sell an animal product-free meal.) They also sell indoor composting kits, sprout-growing kits, and an assortment of enriched soils and organic fertilizers.

“We’re starting to offer liquid fertilizers for indoor gardening and hydroponics and aquaponics,” Seamus said.

And if the store doesn’t have what you need, the owners will help you get it.

“We had one guy come in and order supplies for his greenhouse, and he was all excited,” Veillette said.

Down to Earth Gardening Solutions is located at 141 G E. Highway 246 in Buellton.

For more information, call 686-4444.

 

Managing Editor Amy Asman wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, e-mail, or mail.