Progressive Gardens owner to close shop to grow other organic ventures

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While organic gardening enthusiasts will soon no longer be able to purchase plants and supplies at Progressive Gardens, owner Evan Folds says he will maintain his connection to the community through his farm and consulting work. Courtesy photo.
While organic gardening enthusiasts will soon no longer be able to purchase plants and supplies at Progressive Gardens, owner Evan Folds says he will maintain his connection to the community through his farm and consulting work. Courtesy photo.

A longtime local innovative landscaping business is closing its doors.

Progressive Gardens founder and owner Evan Folds announced Friday that he would shutter his shop at 6005 Oleander Drive at the end of the month to focus on a related company, as well as national consulting work.

Folds opened Progressive Gardens in 2002 to provide access to and education of organic farming methods for the home growers starting with a simple porch plant box to indoor hydroponic growers and commercial agriculturalists.

“I am honored to have been able to pursue my passion with the support of so many people for so long, those who have worked with me and those that have been loyal customers,” Folds wrote in a letter announcing the store’s closing. “There are too many people to name, but you know who you are, and I want you to know that we could not have done it without you.”

During its 14 years in operation, Progressive Gardens often held workshops and classes for gardeners of all ages.
During its 14 years in operation, Progressive Gardens often held workshops and classes for gardeners of all ages.

Although the brick-and-mortar business will shut down June 30, Folds said he plans to continue his original mission to empower people to grow and eat fresh, chemical-free food and create aesthetically pleasing garden areas, sans pesticides. That mission will find a broader range, he noted, through Progressive Farms, which, in addition to growing organic produce, manufactures the Microbe Maker compost tea system and gardening products like Earth Tonic, Compost Tea in a Box and Earth Compound.

Compost tea is the process of steeping compost in water in order to further its benefits, prevent plant disease, speed the breakdown of toxins and enhance the nutritional value of foods.

“Brewing and using compost tea to grow soil has been central to the mission of Progressive Gardens over the years, and we would like to retain the relationships we have built with Wilmington-area residents who want to continue what we have started together improving your landscapes and growing a better world,” Fold said.

Folds also wants to act as a consultant for farms across the country and here in the Port City.

While Progressive Gardens is still open, Folds hopes customers will stop in and say goodbye—and stock up on supplies at a discount. All inventory, including Progress Farms’ compost tea, is now 30 percent off, and special orders are 20 percent off, with free ground shopping.

“We are not going away,” Folds said. “We are growing and changing.”