Grower Profile: SHEGROWS
This month, we’re sharing the story and (really amazing) practices of one of our local growers in Arvada—SHEGROWS.
Gina Schley and her husband Rodman specialize in growing unique cultivars of lavender, herbs and specialty cut flowers in a European-style garden. After volunteering over a decade to start community agriculture projects like community gardens and school farms, they decided to start growing professionally and founded SHEGROWS in 2018. Among the cultivation of year after year of beautiful blooms, the farm is also a nurturing environment to raise their two daughters and provide locally grown flowers to their community.
Gina’s story is heartening; her life started with the tragic loss of her mother Barbara, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 31 and died when Gina was just two years old. Before she died her mother planted a garden: with several neighbors, she tilled up a half acre of land and got to work. That neighborhood garden spoke to Gina throughout her childhood and into her adult years. Her mother’s garden, and many others in Gina’s life, have called to her throughout the seasons. They’ve taught her valuable lessons about life, death, and everything in between.
The farm is a place she can return to and honor these lessons, sharing the abundance of each season with clients and stockists. In this early summer growing season, Gina is cutting a variety of gorgeous tulips—La Belle Epoque, Mount Tacoma, and Exotic Emperor—along with orlaya, a rainbow of anemone, ranunculus, and snapdragon. Gina and the team at SHEGROWS have the goal of creating a farm with a closed loop fertility system: this means everything needed to farm is a byproduct of the farm, from compost to manure, seeds, and beyond.
A few current practices—there are many!—include biodynamic preparations for field, foliage, and compost systems; composting all plant waste material; a weekly, nutritive “compost tea” used to spray plants and grounds weekly; keeping a flock of chickens for their manure (and eggs), horse manure from a family farm one mile away; a beehive on the property for pollination services (and the ability to offer plenty of food to the bees; plastic reduction across the farm, and thoughtful water conservation. The list goes on, and we are totally impressed with all they do to farm and cultivate flowers in a way that’s self-sustaining and gentle on the land.