Lil' Ladybug Greenhouse and Gardens is owned by Pat and Karen Runkle. Nine years ago, Pat was hungry for a fresh, good-tasting tomato for his hamburger in the middle of April. Pat and Karen decided that if they wanted a fresh tomato and couldn't find it, surely there were other people in the same predicament. Lil' Ladybug was born at that moment and has been raising garden fresh tomatoes as well as a full line of vegetables ever since AND all 'Fresh from the Earth' just like grandma used to grow.
Lil' Ladybug Gardens is entering its ninth year of growing 'Fresh from the Earth' produce. We started growing tomatoes in two greenhouses in 2004. Our customers were not only satisfied but kept asking for more variety. Now today we grow tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers under 12,000 square foot of plastic and also take care of a large variety of vegetables in two acres of outside garden.
We are committed to growing our vegetables without chemicals. Lil' Ladybug uses old fashioned practices like preserving the micro-organisms in the soil, tilling, use of beneficial insects, compost, and hand weeding to bring you the healthiest, safest and best-tasting produce available. The vegetables are then handpicked, cooled, packed and delivered quickly to preserve freshness.
We will see a lot of changes in 2013. After coming through a very trying and tiring 2012; Lil ladybug is closing the ornamental (flowers) part of our business and committing all of our energies to raising vegetables. We have placed fans in the high tunnels to help contend with the heat, as well as, placed overhead sprinklers into our buildings to increase the humidity. Tomato production is being increased to a total of 1200 tomato plants (up 300 from last year). We have devised two new planting programs to ensure a larger variety of lettuce/greens and peppers which should extend over the entire season. Also new on the horizon is a variety of herbs. We are planting 10 additional herbs to use in cooking and for teas.
The first year we successfully raised 2,000 pounds of fresh tomatoes and sold them at two markets. With the help of four employees 2009 produced 16,000 pounds of tomatoes along with all the other vegetables. We are currently serving three markets as well as a vegetable stand on the farm.
In the fall, Lil' Ladybug will end the season with the PUMPKIN PATCH. We are adding several new attactions and re-installing the animal farm. In addition we have crafts, special family days, carriage rides, and activities for the whole family. We hope all of you come to see us at the Pumpkin Patch to help us celebrate.