A Sustainable Greenhouse And Nursery

The concept of “going green” may be a fairly recent phenomenon, but it is something Bordine Nursery in Michigan has been practicing for more than 10 years. Bordine Nursery is known for its purple signage and marketing and recently added a section to its Web site called “Purple Goes Green.” The section explains the many ways in which the nursery is using environmentally-friendly practices.

Co-owner Calvin Bordine says that even though the site touts the store’s green practices, he does not consider what they do to be a movement. “There was never a sit-down meeting to say, ‘from this day forward …'” he says. “It’s just trying to do what makes sense. It’s something we’ve been working on for over 10 years. It’s now just become very trendy.”

Bordine adds that he has good employees that also come up with suggestions, and he tours other areas for ideas. “We like to travel and look at other people to figure out what we can take home from what others are doing. It’s a lot of little ideas from all over.”

Green On The Web

In addition to a plethora of information about the green technologies Bordine Nursery uses on its Web site, www.bordines.com, the nursery also has its own YouTube channel, at www.youtube.com/bordinenursery. The YouTube channel has six videos, including a commercial, and videos that show how the biomass boiler and flood floor work, among other things. The videos are closed-captioned and explain in simple language how the technology works.

The Biomass Boiler

In February, the nursery installed a biomass boiler at its Grand Blanc growing facility. This investment led Bordine to the decision of adding a green section to the Web site. “With (the biomass boiler) being such a large investment, that was a time to stick a little thing on the Web site,” he says.

Since a majority of the total natural gas used for the growing facility and retail centers lies in production and growing, Bordine says they are doing everything they can to curb natural gas costs. The biomass boiler burns wood chips instead of natural gas to heat water, although natural gas is still used as a backup. A 200,000-gallon water storage tank is used to store heat during the day, so there is twice as much heat that can be used overnight.

Bordine adds that they will make any changes they can to get more of the growing into the area that uses water heat from the biomass. “It’s kind of a work in progress,” he says. “This next winter will be our first full winter with it, so we can really utilize that space in the fall and winter when we grow all the poinsettias in that space.”

Bordine Nursery also sells plants wholesale to other growers and can quote them a price for any point in the growing period. Bordine points to poinsettias as an example. “We can sell them at any stage of a poinsettia, and we’ll be able to give them a price by the week of how much the poinsettia will cost,” he says. “They can use that to decide if they’re going to grow poinsettias or just buy them in.”

Other Green Technologies

In addition to the biomass boiler, Bordine’s has implemented several other sustainable technologies, including a flood floor range in its greenhouse, where plants are grown on a concrete floor. “The floor is sloped slightly, and the irrigation system is built right into the floor, so the water pumped up through the floor waters the plants and then drains down,” Bordine says.

Water is stored in four 10,000-gallon cisterns, and in just five minutes, approximately 2,500 gallons of water fills a zone. Twenty to 25 percent of the water is taken by plants; the rest flows back to the water station, where it is recycled and used later. The flood floor keeps foliage dry and reduces the use of fungicide. The system is computer-controlled, and fertilizer can be added. There is no runoff because 100 percent of the fertilizer and water are used.

Automated watering booms also help conserve water. These booms can be programmed to only water or fertilize specific plants, skipping over those that don’t need it. In addition, less water evaporates because the water is sprinkled only inches above them.

Another way in which water is conserved is in the nursery’s retention pond. This 10 million-gallon pond captures rain water, which is pumped for use on trees, shrubs, roses and small fruits. Runoff from those areas drains back into the pond.

The nursery also has invested in reusable plug trays. While the reusable trays cost more, less plastic is used, and some of the trays are used up to three times a year. A sterilizing machine cleans the trays after each use.

Last but not least, heat retention curtains reduce electricity by providing shade, thus reducing exhaust fan usage. About 35 percent in heating costs are saved each year with this type of curtain.

Bordine says that if nursery owners want to become more green, they should tour other greenhouses and go to trade shows. He recommends OFA as a starting point. “There’s pretty much everybody there,” he says. “If you ever want to look into a product, it’s there.”

Bordine says growers need to go out and search for ideas on how to be green and deal with high heating costs. “We are in a period of accelerated change, and everybody has to accept that,” he says. “I think those that do it well are going to be around 25 years from now.”
Allison Bray is a freelance writer based in Painesville, Ohio.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “A Sustainable Greenhouse And Nursery

  1. I am looking for the hydrangea that appeared in a ad. they are called the Endless Summer collection the one I a interested in is Twist n Shout, Invincibelle Spirit & Bloomerang. Please let me know if you carry them. Thank You

  2. I am looking for the hydrangea that appeared in a ad. they are called the Endless Summer collection the one I a interested in is Twist n Shout, Invincibelle Spirit & Bloomerang. Please let me know if you carry them. Thank You

More From Finance/Operations...
Hendriks-Half-Open-Roof_GGS

March 26, 2015

10 Greenhouse Products For First-Rate Growing Environments

From coverings to fork-lifts, greenhouse suppliers offer a variety of products to make growing easier. Check out the slideshow to learn more about these, plus several other products that can offer you value, versatility and durability.

Read More
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Horticulture Priorities

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadlines Approaching

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More
Latest Stories
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadl…

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More

March 23, 2015

UF/IFAS Appoints Joseph Albano As Director Of Mid-Flori…

The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has a new directors for its Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (REC) on Apopka, Fla. The role has been filled by Joseph Albano, a research horticulturist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with more than 25 years of experience.

Read More

March 17, 2015

Pike Nurseries Implements Employee Stock Ownership Plan

Independent garden retailer Pike Nurseries has announced it will become an employee-owned company. Pike Nurseries management has combined with its sister corporation in California, Armstrong Garden Centers, to operate under an established Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Read More
GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

March 10, 2015

GrowIt! Mobile App Now Available For Android

The mobile app GrowIt! Garden Socially can now be used by gardeners with Android-based smartphones. Now available on the Google Play Market, GrowIt! helps users find plants to fit their lifestyle and connect them with other local gardeners.

Read More

March 4, 2015

Second Annual GreenhouseConnect Will Bring Growers and …

Following a successful inaugural event in Tampa last fall, Greenhouse Grower has announced the dates of its second annual GreenhouseConnect: October 26-29, 2015. Representatives of an expected two dozen leading greenhouse operations from across the U.S. will join senior-level suppliers at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego for several days of one-on-one strategic meetings, a growers-only roundtable, informational sessions and a variety of networking events.

Read More

March 4, 2015

Maryland Green Industry Associations Unite

The Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association recently announced that it is expanding its reach to include the greenhouse industry, meaning it has become The Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association (MNLGA). The change comes as a result of the planned dissolution of the former Maryland Greenhouse Growers Association and the invitation for those members to join the existing and renamed association.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Ann…

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
myers industries Lawn and Garden Logo

February 24, 2015

Myers Industries, Inc. Lawn And Garden Business Sold, N…

The management of Myers Lawn and Garden Group, along with Wingate Partners V, L.P. have recently acquired the Myers Industries, Inc. Lawn and Garden business. The new company is named The HC Companies, and will continue as a North American leading provider of horticulture containers supplying the greenhouse, nursery and retail markets.

Read More
american-hort-logo

February 17, 2015

AmericanHort Announces New Board Members

AmericanHort recently announced the election of new officers and members to the board of directors. Each will assume their positions on the board during Cultivate’15, July 11 to 14 in Columbus, Ohio.

Read More
All American Selections

February 17, 2015

All-America Selections Elects New Officers, Names New J…

While meeting during the Flower and Vegetable Seed Conference in Tampa, Fla., hosted by the American Seed Trade Association, All-America Selections elected new officers for a two-year term. Read on to learn about the new officers, as well as all of the new judges that were added in 2014.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower.com on your desktop, on your phone, on your tablet

February 11, 2015

GreenhouseGrower.com Relaunches With Responsive Design …

Greenhouse Grower magazine, the nation’s leader in profits, production and education for greenhouse growers, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, GreenhouseGrower.com. The new design is the product of direct user feedback and GreenhouseGrower.com analytics, and includes responsive design for ease of mobile use.

Read More
Andy Higgins

February 3, 2015

MasterTag Names Andy Higgins As Its New President

Former CEO and president of Ecke Ranch, Andy Higgins, joins MasterTag as its new president. He brings more than two decades of industry experience to the position.

Read More
Syngenta Bioline Hires Ronald Valentin For Technical Lead Role

January 28, 2015

Syngenta Bioline Hires Ronald Valentin For Technical Le…

Ronald Valentin has been appointed technical lead for Syngenta Bioline, effective January 2015. He will be responsible for technical support of Bioline biological control agents and will be instrumental in helping growers develop integrated pest management (IPM) solutions.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Give Equal Time To The Number Crunchers

Before investing in a new business opportunity, check in with the financial gurus of your organization to make certain you have the cash flow to back up your efforts.

Read More
Plant Introductions, Inc. partners Mark Griffith, Dr. Michael Dirr and Jeff Beasley and Bailey Nurseries President Terri McEnaney.

January 20, 2015

Bailey Nurseries’ Purchase Of Plant Introductions Inc. …

When Bailey Nurseries purchased its long-time breeding partner, Plant Introductions, Inc. (PII), in early January 2015, it freed the PII team to concentrate on what they do best: develop new plants. Bailey Nurseries will take on the business management side of the partnership, but otherwise the relationship it has enjoyed with PII for years will be largely unchanged.

Read More
Plant Introductions, Inc. partners Mark Griffith, Dr. Michael Dirr and Jeff Beasley and Bailey Nurseries President Terri McEnaney.

January 13, 2015

Bailey Nurseries Acquires Plant Introductions

Bailey Nurseries has acquired Plant Introductions, Inc. (PII), effective January 1, 2015. PII has developed numerous innovative new varieties that have been marketed worldwide, many introduced by Bailey Nurseries.

Read More

January 7, 2015

How Inflation Affects Your Business And Why You Can’t I…

Awareness of the true increase in costs after inflation is a necessary part of good financial management for greenhouse operations.

Read More

December 4, 2014

New Developments In Shipping/Logistics Software

Improved shipping and logistics software from Picas Software and MapMechanics makes it easier for growers to plan loads efficiently and automate day-to-day distribution planning.

Read More