Ladybug Indoor Gardens owner Nathan Jackson adds water to the fogging fountains in his west Main store under a rotating grow light. pennell photo - Bob Pennell

These insects are good for gardens

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it?

We provide beneficial insects — ladybugs, mantis, green lacewings, predatory nematodes and the like — for pest control: good bugs that eat bad bugs. We also provide gardening supplies, specializing in indoor gardening. We do hydroponics, which is soilless gardening by directly adding nutrients to the water. We handle organic soils and pesticides and fertilizers.

I also write a column for Garden & Greenhouse magazine in Dubuque, Iowa. We've been doing this for about five years.

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley?

I was born here and went to South Medford High School.

What inspired you to go into this line of work?

I grew up with it. My dad was doing beneficial insects 20 to 25 years ago and doing hydroponic gardening. It's a great way to grow vegetables and they do it a lot in Third-World countries. It's a great technology.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again?

We could've gotten the word out to people earlier about the benefits of organics and organic gardening. Other than that I think we've been right on track with what we want to do.

What's the toughest business decision you've made?

We're in a fairly small space — the showroom is 800 square feet — so trying to decide what products to fit into that space. Products that are directly related to gardening have won out; we just don't have space for water fountains and features.

Who are your competitors?

Paradise Supply, Aqua Serene are our local competitors.

What are your goals?

To expand into a larger retail space. The property we're in right now has room for another retail building and I'd like to move into it. I'd love to break out into other areas in Oregon, but don't foresee that any time soon. There's enough business here to support a larger building.

What training or education did you need?

I've been to many hydroponic and plant classes. I've learned a lot from my dad and other people in the industry. Beyond that, trial and error.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

Pick something you enjoy. If you're going to start a business you have to dedicate so much to it and you need to pick something that will keep you stimulated. There's always new things to learn in this business because plant science is always changing. Beyond that, work hard and plan as much as possible.

To suggest an idea for this column, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

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