We have been in our business for five years come the 1 st of July, and now it's time to hand over the reins to a wonderful couple who we know will strive to take Otaki Hydroponics and Garden Supplies to the next level and beyond. What a whirl wind five years it has been. When we brought the business we were two amateur gardeners living in the city. Our motivation towards this business was to enjoy the lifestyle of working together along with enjoying all that the Kapiti Coast had to offer. As we all know there is no "I" in the word team. Everything we have strived for along the way has involved support and back up from our team, Heather has become an integral part of our team sharing her wealth of knowledge on all things gardening, along with her warmth and kindness towards our customers. Our customers too have been awesome at sharing gardening knowledge and support of our business. Without our customers there would be no business. Shopping locally is so very important, all small businesses have to work that bit harder to survive, and we all rely on the support of our local customers. My personal dream has always been to be able to feed Ross and I from my garden patch year round. I was naive enough to think this could be achieved in the first year of our adventure. How very wrong I was. However, over the last five years I am now delighted with being able supply us with about 80-90% of our vegetables and just some of our fruit from a very young orchard. The 80% production has included the hothouse and AutoPots here at work. This has without doubt been a great contributor towards to 80-90% production chain simply by extending the growing season. Now as we plan to move on, I will definately be installing both a hothouse and some AutoPots. Gardening and growing is a wonderful teacher on so very many levels. Take patience for example, possibly not an attribute I have been blessed with, but gardening has taught me to stop for awhile and observe. Nature will not be rushed no matter how hard I have tried. Acceptance, learning to accept that not all seasons are going to deliver the same as previous years, and learning to make the most of both the good and bad elements, and having a back up plan is integral. Fertilisers. Not all fertilisers are created equal, although I believe I have come full circle from my childhood days of helping my city grandfather scoop the cow poop on our farm, to watching my Father's vegetable patch flourish under the generous servings of super phosphate from the fertiliser shed, to now. Me being back to basics of hunting out pony poo, seaweed and saving vegetable scraps, then adding in Bio Certified Organic Rok Solid to complete the brew. I am totally committed to feeding my soil, keeping it clean of nasties and learning to diversify with the types of plantings. I relish the opportunities and experiences I have had over the last 5 years, and now look foward to having just a little bit more time to concentrate on improving my growing options, and being committed to learning more about sustainable living and growing. Having our animals here at the shop has been a wonderful experience. In particular there have been a couple times when a young child that has visited with a parent has been anxious around Hydro(our much loved dog). On both occasions Hydro has sensed this and sat at a distance observing and only approaching on invitation. To see an anxious child make progress and gain confidence enough to pat Hydro, or shake his hand before they have left, is just the best thing to witness. Within months of arriving here we acquired a little cat from the SPCA. We named her Bobbi and she quickly settled into shop life and became a star attraction. She then retired to our sunny lounge and now only moves for food, a stretch and a smooch. Then came Ponics the little lion (so he thought). He has grown into a large and welcoming member of staff, who demands attention daily from all of us and won't give up until he gets it. Customer service is definately his area of expertise. Finally, while my partner Ross may be thinking that semi retirement is within his grasp, I am thinking that he will now have more time to build structures in the garden, install a hothouse and teach me to back a trailer (it's on my bucket list) The incoming owners for Otaki Hydroponics and Garden Supplies are bursting with enthusiasum, energy and new ideas. I know we are all going to enjoy following their blog and keeping up with new developments as they come to hand. Happy Gardening and thank you to you all from Ross and Kay.