Ashville, NC; Durham, NC; Greensboro, NC; Charlottesville, VA; Raleigh, NC
Fifth Season Gardening Company's beginnings trace back to 2000 with the opening of Asheville Agricultural Systems in Asheville and then a few years later with the opening of Carolina Hydrogardens in Durham and Greensboro. In 2006, we decided to come together under one name, Fifth Season Gardening, Co. Despite our multiple locations, we are a small family business with twenty year roots in North Carolina, and we pride ourselves on our history of excellent customer service and commitment to the varied needs of hydroponic and organic growers.
Fifth Season was founded in 2000 by current owner Richard Quinn and his brother-in-law in Ashville, NC as a resource for quality organic hydroponic garden supplies. Since then the store has expanded to 5 stores between NC and VA, and increased their product offerings to include a broad range of unusual items—from beer and wine making supplies to high quality specialty garden tools.
Beyond gardening supplies, Fifth Season offers a broad range of high quality tools from brands including Wilcox, Dewit, Prohoe and Mariachi, and a number of free classes designed to educate their customers about beer or wine making, hydroponic gardening, or organic gardening.
They also provide free educational material and are great resources for any questions you may have about gardening.
I had the opportunity sit down with founder Richard Quinn and learn more about the Fifth Season philosophy and some of the neat things going on in their store. See some of the conversation below:
Tell me about how your store was founded.
We were on a trip one year in Colorado and came across a hydroponic / organic gardening store that was really interesting. We thought that North Carolina could use something similar and thus Fifth Season was born.
I assume the name Fifth Season comes from possibly the "fifth growing season" or growing plants inside. Where does the name actually come from?
It was actually thought up by one of our marketing guys. He gave me a list of names and this one really worked. But it does refer to the fifth season or the ability to grow year round, inside, regardless of the outside conditions.
The Talavera pottery and a yet to be released solar powered outdoor fountain pump.
What are some of the products you're most excited about?
Some of their most recent additions to the store inventory include solar powered outdoor fountain pumps, and hand painted Talavera pottery from Mexico.
What type of consumer does your store cater to?
Those who are interested in DIY gardening, in quality products (vs. quantity) and unique and usual products. We have a lot of customers interested in organic gardening, hydroponics and container gardening. Recently, this market has really expanded.
To what do you attribute the increase in business?
The rise in container gardening has increased dramatically in the past few years as people aim to lower their impact on the environment and their yards. Deck gardens, container gardening and hydroponics are a great solution that create less of an impact on one's yard, it is less permanent, and are a great solution for renters.
Can you explain some of the benefits of hydroponics?
Hydroponics allows you to control every aspect of your plant from the nutrients to sun light to temperature and moisture. The promise of hydroponics is reduced incidence of disease, pests, and thus the ability to avoid harmful inorganic chemicals required to keep pests at bay outside. Organic gardening is substantially easier with a closed system.
How much does it cost to get started in hydroponics?
The cost of hydroponics has come down substantially. You can go out and purchase a one pot system for about $100 or put together your own for even less. A basic system consists of a water pump, growing light and container.
What about the energy use of the lights?
Hydroponic lighting systems are incredibly efficient when compared to incandescence or even CFLs. You'd be surprised at how little energy it takes to run one of these lights.