Luke Huffstodt is a walking encyclopedia of hydroponics.
“Some of the benefits are higher food production, maximizing genetic potential and having more control over the environment of your plants,” he said.
Hydroponics is a way of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water instead of soil. A variety of plants – like vegetables, tomatoes and herbs – can be grown with their roots in such inert mediums as coconut husk or perlite, a form of obsidian.
Huffstodt launched Cascadia Garden Supply in Eastsound this November. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday at 188 A Street in the athletics building. Visit www.cascadiagardensupply.com for more information.
Huffstodt carries merchandise for indoor and outdoor projects, including soil, nutrients, lighting, hydroponic items, seeds, indoor grow tents and at-home mushroom kits. He also brews compost tea – a microbe-rich solution for soil and plant roots. He is already taking orders for greenhouses that will be installed in the spring.
Huffstodt opened the store with his brother Matt after moving from Portland, Ore. to Orcas this fall. His father, Richard, has been a contractor for many years on the island, and his sister Lily works at the Orcas Hotel.
While Luke’s degree is in geography, he says, “I’ve always been fascinated with alternative means of growing.” While working in the garden store with a large hydroponic section, he saw the potential of year-round food production. Now, as a first-time business owner, he is excited to share his enthusiasm for horticulture.
“The San Juans are basically a giant garden,” he said.