For three generations, the Bauman family roots have run deep on this land. Dave and Debbie Bauman are not about to let that change. Their name in German means “small farmer.” And it’s what Dave always wanted to be. “I grew up here and never moved out of the house,” he says. The Baumans admit it was a great way to raise their three boys. But the hours were really demanding.
Like many small family operations, Debbie also worked off the farm and got her hands dirty as a landscaper. She found herself away from home for much of the day, driving around looking for plants. Then she had the idea that changed everything. She explains, “I thought what better way to make my landscaping easier, if I had the plants here.” Here is where her dream came into focus, right in the middle of their 450-acre dairy farm outside Edgar. The Baumans turned their seed of an idea into a business. It was Debbie’s passion but they both jumped right in. Dave said, “I was gung-ho. I backed her always. She helped me for many years. So, I thought I’d help her, and follow her dreams.”
Today the cows are gone. The barnyard animals are more the decorative garden variety and the plants come with names like “Hens and Chicks.” So, from cows to Coral Bells, farmer Dave is growing into his new role on the farm. Debbie admits it’s kind of fun watching him learn. “He knows corn. He knows seeds, and soybeans, and stuff. But, like, perennials and shrubs, it’s a little out of his comfort zone,” she says. And Dave wouldn’t disagree and says, “I didn’t know there were that many different perennials, and trees, and shrubs. She says, ‘Just pot them’ and I pot them.”
The concept of running a nursery and farming are one in the same. The Baumans are just growing a different crop. There is still watering, weeding and watching the weather. Today, business is blooming and at last count Debbie had more than 350 varieties of hostas with a goal of being one of the largest hosta gardens in the state.
Looking back now, the Baumans are satisfied to see how they reinvented their farm and are measuring success one happy customer at a time.