Although some customers have learned by word of mouth that Miller's Greenhouse has moved to a new location, owners Paul and Rosanna Miller want all their loyal patrons to be able to find them - whether it's the Johnstown school bus drivers or their Licking and Knox county neighbors.

Although some customers have learned by word of mouth that Miller's Greenhouse has moved to a new location, owners Paul and Rosanna Miller want all their loyal patrons to be able to find them - whether it's the Johnstown school bus drivers or their Licking and Knox county neighbors.

Miller said he rented the greenhouse near the corner of state Route 13 and U.S. Route 62 in Utica for seven years, but this spring he decided to open his greenhouse to the public at 21752 Clutter Road, just across from his residence. It's about one-and-a-half miles southwest of Martinsburg.

The family-owned business also operates Miller's Farm Market on Martinsburg Road in Mount Vernon.

Miller began growing hydroponic tomatoes in 1996 at his 100-acre farm and later added other produce and flowers to the mix. Hydroponic is a technology for growing plants in water and fertilizers. All hydroponic systems are enclosed in greenhouse-type structures to provide temperature control, reduce evaporative water loss, and to reduce disease and pest infestations.

"I used to wholesale to the Kroger in Johnstown, the IGA in Granville, Newark and Heath," Miller said. "We've gone from selling 300 hanging baskets and 500 flats to 2,500 hanging baskets and 3,000 flats."

He said he never had a desire to expand the business to make it as large as it has become, but his four children have expressed interest in carrying on the tradition when he's ready to retire.

Along with wife Rosanna, the children - all of whom take part in the operation - are Brittany, 18; Travis, 16; Victoria, 14; and Austin, 12.

The youngest family members are paid $1 for every large container of tomatoes they collect, with dad providing immediate payment and offering the wisdom that they will have to wait for a paycheck at most jobs.

"This is a family operation with help from some neighbor girls," he said. "I intend to keep it that way. We enjoy it."

Millers' heritage is Amish, although he and his family attend Melita Church based on the Mennonite faith at Camp Ohio.

"We have electric, the Internet, cell phones and I drive vehicles but we don't do television," he said. "Family values are built around working with each other and not watching TV and being influenced."

He said the time that's most intense for the business is in the spring, when they're still seeding new plants and getting ready to open for retail.

Miller doesn't try to compete with big-box retailers.

"A focus was to do some things that are more difficult for box stores to do," he said. "Hanging baskets are harder to grow. We also promote our premium geraniums."

Miller freely offers advice to customers, whether they ask for it or not.

"I always tell them not to let a hanging basket grow in length," he said. "You need to trim back the new growth. So many people buy a hanging basket and they last no longer than three weeks. We give a slow release fertilizer that provides nutrients. We spend 70 cents a basket, giving fertilizer that's a three-month feed. People make the connection."

He said many people also mistakenly care for their plants with water filtered through a softener that makes it too salty.

Miller said he's the grower and the retailer, with many of the flowers being grown from seed and some from cuttings.

"My mentality is that I do the best I can," he said. "If you're not good enough, you won't make it at all. I try to grow the best product I can. Hopefully, it's good enough to sell at a reasonable price."

He said a group of six Johnstown bus drivers frequented the former location, and he has a customer base that reaches as close as Newark to as far away as Columbus and Coshocton County.

Miller, who has lived on the Utica farm since he was a boy, expects to begin clearancing greenhouse flowers and plants by the second week in June.

"If you're not set on a certain color or plant, there will be a lot of good plants left," he said.

Mid-June is the time when he will begin focusing on strawberries, raspberries and other produce for the farm market.

Miller's Greenhouse is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. They will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Memorial Day.