Greenhouse Work Starts Early
The Seaney Farms Greenhouse doesn't open for business until mid-April, but for owner Roy Seaney, things are already getting busy inside.
"What we're planting here today are hanging baskets," Seaney said. "So that's why we start them very early. We want them very large and in full bloom by the time the first of May rolls around."
His main occupation lies outside on the corn and soybean farm. He started the greenhouse as a way to diversify, and now he's moving a lot of plants in a year's time.
"I'd say, half a million, somewhere around there, in original plants," Seaney said. "A lot of our plants are in pots, so you have numerous plants in each pot."
Luckily, he has plenty of help from some of his neighbors, like Carolyn Spann.
"I live nearby, and I worked at the state of Illinois and I retired and came by, and they needed help with transplanting," Spann said. "I wanted to do something other than an office job, so this is the perfect fit for me."
Greenhouse work has its benefits for Dorothy Coil, especially right now.
"I particularly like it when we first start because there's usually snow on the ground," Coil said. "It's so nice to be in here at 69 degrees and see snow outside, and be working in short sleeves."
But the joy of this work isn't based solely on the warmth.
"It's very therapeutic," Coil said. "You just forget everything, any problems, anything, and you just plant. I love it."
Seaney has another good helper, since his parents moved out here when they retired.
"We moved out here to irritate him," father Robert Seaney said. "You know, like most sons and fathers get along."
As a former agronomy professor at Cornell, he's able to offer some technical skills like mixing aqueous fertilizers.
"The different species that are growing in here require different pH levels," Robert Seaney said. "So you have to be careful and water them with three different kinds of fertilizer actually. It's acid fertilizer, not so acid fertilizer. That's basically what it is."
He's one more employee here that truly loves the work.
"I'm 86 now," Robert Seaney said. "When you get up there, it's like an old car that breaks down, tires go flat or motor conks out, something like that. I don't know. I love working in greenhouses with plants, so as long as I'm in good health, I'll keep it up."
Seaney Farms Greenhouse is located on Route 97 between Salisbury and Petersburg. They have another retail location on Andre Road in Sherman. Both will open in mid-April, and they will be offering fresh farm-raised vegetables from July through August.
Reporting in Menard County, Mike Brooks, ABC NewsChannel 20.