Watson’s Garden has been operating in Otaki for over 40 years. It was first built by the late Jim McCormick after World War Two in 1947 and has been family owned by Don and Pat Watson since 1966 when, after having worked here for ten years, they bought the business.
Watson’s Garden has employed a lot of family and locals over the years and has a signficant place in Otaki history. We have grown a wide range of plants from the old days which include potted cyclamen, cut flowers, and carnations (Otaki pinks in particular) along with vegetable seedlings, capsicum and tomatoes.
Tomatoes were a big one for Otaki and the Horowhenua area. There were 750,000 tomato plants grown locally per year in 1986 and we were at the forefront of growing vegetables in cell trays.
In 2001 we built our own plant growing racks for our vegetable seedlings and to overcome hygiene problems we designed and built them all locally. It started with 1000 and we now have over 5000. The advantages to our production have been signficiant. We’ve gone from handling a tray 13 times to now only handling it 6 times which has a significant impact in the quality of the plant.
We grow annuals for the Kapiti Coast District Council as well as a number of other nurseries.
Over time, our commercial enterprise out grew our site at Bell Street and we purchased a new property of 8.1 hectors (20 arces) at 79 Lethbridge Road across the Otaki river. This is where we grow our commercial vegetables such as cabbages, cauliflowers, brocolli, lettuce and leeks.
At the Bell Street building we have perennials, grasses, fruit trees and a selection of many other plants. This site has recently seen the opening of a new shop where we now sell a large selection of garden supplies, such as compost and potting mix, and a range of quality garden tools.