GROWING IDEA: Samantha Murray is the owner of Gladstone business, Central Queensland Hydroponics.
GROWING IDEA: Samantha Murray is the owner of Gladstone business, Central Queensland Hydroponics. Matt Taylor GLA110318HYDR

Unique business looking for bigger shop months after opening

BUSINESS is blossoming for a Gladstone store dedicated to growing any plant in any conditions.

Central Queensland Hydroponics on Auckland St is the only hydroponics store between Hervey Bay and Townsville, according to co-owner Samantha Murray.

Growing plants hydroponically means to grow things without soil. The practice was first started by NASA for astronauts to have a way of growing greens in space.

"It's no-dirt gardening," Mrs Murray said.

Since its soft opening in October 2017, business for CQ Hydroponics has thrived to the point the owners are considering moving to a bigger space.

Mrs Murray said she and husband Thomas Murray had wanted to open their own business for the past two years.

"It was either this or buy a house," she said.

Mrs Murray said though running a business was a challenge in itself, she didn't think Gladstone's current economic climate would pose more of a risk on her shop.

"Now was as good a time as any. People want to save money at a time like this so why not on produce," Mrs Murray said.

"It's so expensive to be healthy. Look at how much you pay for a pack of chips compared to a salad at the shops."

CQ Hydroponics is specifically aimed toward people who want to eat healthy but don't want it to cost them financially.

"It's for people who want to get the most out of their veggies or food crops," Mrs Murray said.

She said customers can come into the store and together, staff and customers can figure out what kind of plant they want to grow (whether it's as small as a herb garden to as large as bulk fruit and veg).

From there, the most suitable watering system and the nutrients for the plant are organised along with a plan to grow the plant for the customer to take home.

"It's a really good way to have your own fruit and veg in your own home that's pesticide free and you know what's inside it," Mrs Murray said.

She said she, her husband and their three children had always cared about what they ate.

"My kids like to know what's in and on their food," Mrs Murray said.

CQ Hydroponics is a retail store which sells a variety of nutrients.

The nutrients, like liquid fertiliser, is combined with a feed chart the business's staff tailor to the type of plant a customer wants to grow.

"You can specifically design the feed to that plant to help it grow better," Mrs Murray said.

"For example, I love strawberries but I don't have a big space to grow them, so I do it hydroponically," she said.

The system means Mrs Murray doesn't have to have 50 individual strawberry plants. Instead, she only needs five.

And despite the small number of plants, her children are able to pick strawberries every night.

"Not a lot of people know what hyrdroponics is, but those that do know only grow things hydroponically," Mrs Murray said.

"Because there's nothing better than that feeling of satisfaction of growing something yourself."

Mrs Murray told The Observer even though she had a baby only 10 months ago, the shop at 215 Auckland St was like her second home.

CQ Hydroponics's website is days from being completed.

For more information go to the business's Facebook page: Central Queensland Hydroponics.

The store is open Tuesday to Friday between 10am-5pm.