Tom Kucharik has always had a green thumb.
After years of dreaming, he has opened the Garden Shack Farm just south of the Heron Bay development on Beaver Dam Road. Garden Shack Farm offers a variety of vegetable plants, perennial flowers and annual flowers.
“We've been thinking about this for a long time,” said Tom, who started the business with his wife, Laura. “This is something I've always wanted to do.”
Tom certainly does not lack experience. His love of the outdoors and nursery work, in particular, started early on. While attending Delaware Technical Community College, he spent many weekends selling plants at his mom's house on Route 9. The extra cash helped pay for his education. He earned a degree in agribusiness/ horticulture and holds certificates in greenhouse management, turf grass management and plants and soils.
He has worked in the green industry for the last 20 years, including hands-on experience in his own landscape design and maintenance company.
Garden Shack Farm has two greenhouses with plans to build more in the future. Everything sold at the farm is grown on the premises and about 90 percent of it from seed. Tom said he encourages his customers to make suggestions for his next round of plantings.
“We just want it to be a place where folks who live around here can come in and get some flowers, herbs, fresh produce and do their thing,” he said.
Laura serves as farm manager and general laborer. She comes from a printing, publishing and graphic design background, so she leaves most of the ideas to her husband.
“It's the only time I get to tell her what to do,” he joked.
Said Laura, “I certainly don't miss sitting in front of a computer. I just do whatever he tells me. I don't really have any experience except working with him and learning from him.”
The couple's three children have also been known to lend a helping hand.
This summer the farm will offer produce, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers and melons. They offer hanging baskets and patio pots as well as petunias, coleus, angelonia, geraniums, calibrachoas and impatiens. They are also growing several breeds of plucky hens and hope to have fresh eggs from their own chickens by the fall.
In time for Sunday's Mother's Day, the Kuchariks are planning a flower sale. Go to the Garden Shack Farm's Facebook page for updates on sales.
The farm, at 19884 Beaver Dam Road, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and select Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, go to www.gardenshackfarm.com or call 302-249-8830.