by Jennifer Alexander Ruple
The greenhouses at Louis Keil and Sons Farm are bursting at the seams with flowers of all colors this week as owners Tony, Mike and Tim Keil kick off their spring retail season. The third generation farm, located at 9022 W. Central Ave. in Sylvania Township, is ready for customers to shop from a wide assortment of flowering annuals. “We grow approximately 30 types of flowers,” said Tony Keil. That list includes asters, begonias, coleus, dahlias, impatiens, salvia, petunias, snapdragons, zinnias, pansies and more.
The Keils offer plants in hanging baskets, flats, and 4-inch to 14-inch pots. Garden plants such as vegetables and herbs are also available. “Mother’s Day is a big weekend for us, but we’re open now. We’ll have plants all summer long and produce as it becomes available starting in June,” explained Keil.
The farm was established in 1954 when northwest Ohio native Louis Keil Sr., along with his wife, Mildred, purchased the 80-acre property after his son, Louis Jr., finished serving in the military. In the mid-60s, Louis Jr. and his brother, Walter, took over operations. Today, the farm is managed by the “sons of sons,” Louis Jr.’s son Tony and Walter’s sons Mike and Tim. While the trio works as a team, each member plays his own role in the family business. Tony Keil explained, “I take care of maintenance and plant the fields; Tim is in charge of seeding, marketing and employees; and Mike’s focus is on propagation and retail sales.”
An unfortunate incident occurred at the farm on December 22, 2022 when a semi-truck failed to stop at the intersection of Crissey Road and Central Avenue, running straight into the Keils’ nearly 100-year-old farmhouse. “Although the home was destroyed, we are thankful no one was hurt,” said Tim Keil. “We are moving forward this season, and the accident won’t hamper the operation of our farm.”
Flowers are an important aspect at Louis Keil and Sons Farm; however, they are only part of the bigger picture. The Keils grow 67 varieties of vegetables and herbs as well. “Everything we sell, we raise. About 50 percent of our plants are propagated from cuttings and the other 50 percent are grown from seeds,” said Mike Keil.
Beginning in late June, radishes, spinach and lettuce make their appearance at the farm. July brings an array of herbs such as basil, oregano and parsley and produce including cucumbers, pickles, summer squash, zucchini and tomatoes plus three varieties of sweet corn – white, yellow and bicolor. August brings cantaloupe and watermelon, and in late September, mums, pumpkins and decorative squash are in abundance. “Corn and tomatoes are the big draw. We’re told we have the best sweet corn around,” Tim Keil commented.
Louis Keil and Sons Farm is open for plant sales Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. The team will also participate at the Toledo Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm and the Westgate Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays from 3 to 7 pm. Starting in mid-July, the farm will accept WIC and Senior Perks programs.
“There’s an old saying, ‘The best part about farming is winter,’ but that’s not true for us. We’re a year-round operation,” said Tim Keil. “We start our first plant cuttings in October, and the beginning of the year, we start planting seeds. By mid-March we are transplanting to baskets and containers. That’s when the magic begins.”