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.”

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...
Briscoe White, Growers Exchange

July 6, 2016

The Grower’s Exchange Unlocks The Secret to E-Commerce

In the Internet era, Briscoe and Kenan White knew they had to adapt or die and specialize to survive. Here’s how they took The Grower’s Exchange online.

Read More
Brie Arthur

July 6, 2016

5 Can’t-Miss Events To Watch For At Farwest 2016

Whether it’s classes on biocontrols and gardening trends, or networking opportunities in and around the trade show floor, there’s plenty happening at Farwest 2016 in Portland, OR, in August.

Read More
Cannabis states 2016

July 1, 2016

Adult Use Of Cannabis On The Ballot In 2016

25 states have legalized cannabis and public opinion is increasingly positive. Here’s where things may be headed as we move toward the fall elections.

Read More
Latest Stories
Briscoe White, Growers Exchange

July 6, 2016

The Grower’s Exchange Unlocks The Secret to E-Commerce

In the Internet era, Briscoe and Kenan White knew they had to adapt or die and specialize to survive. Here’s how they took The Grower’s Exchange online.

Read More
Brie Arthur

July 6, 2016

5 Can’t-Miss Events To Watch For At Farwest 2016

Whether it’s classes on biocontrols and gardening trends, or networking opportunities in and around the trade show floor, there’s plenty happening at Farwest 2016 in Portland, OR, in August.

Read More
Cannabis states 2016

July 1, 2016

Adult Use Of Cannabis On The Ballot In 2016

25 states have legalized cannabis and public opinion is increasingly positive. Here’s where things may be headed as we move toward the fall elections.

Read More
Practical Software Grower Vertical

June 18, 2016

Practical Software Solutions Increases Accessibility, E…

Practical Software will demonstrate Grower Vertical, its customizable and scalable enterprise management system for the horticulture industry, at Cultivate’16 in July.

Read More
Battlefield Farms Company shot

June 14, 2016

Battlefield Farms Is A Finalist For 2016 Operation Of T…

Battlefield Farms in Rapidan, VA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Innovation award for 2016.

Read More

June 7, 2016

Ball Seed Offers Full Mobile Ordering Capabilities With…

The latest update for Ball Seed’s WebTrack To Go mobile app now includes full ordering capabilities for the industry’s largest assortment of seeds and plants. App users can also complete order fulfillment via seed count or package size, find product substitutions, get personalized “contact us” information, request plant tags, and more. “Upgrading WebTrack To Go to the full suite of ordering and management tools is where we’ve always wanted to be,” says Mark Morris, Director of IT for Ball Seed. “With this new roll-out, we’re keeping up with our customers on-the-go and providing them the information and access they need –- even while away from their desks.” The Ball Seed WebTrack To Go app lets customers: Check order status and shipment tracking 24-7 Access up-to-the-minute product inventory from hundreds of suppliers Place orders by seed count, packet size, and more Find product info, culture and photos when and where they […]

Read More
Gotham Greens Atrium Style Greenhouse Chicago

May 23, 2016

What’s Good For The Environment Is Good For Business [O…

Investing in technology to become more sustainable “always goes hand in hand,” says Abe VanWingerden, co-CEO of Metrolina Greenhouses. “If it is good for the environment, it normally is good for business over the long term.” That connection was abundantly clear in the responses we received to this year’s Top 100 Growers Survey. VanWingerden points to three investments Metrolina has made as good examples of how technology can reduce an operation’s carbon footprint and pay dividends financially. Its biomass system burns locally sourced waste wood — a renewable resource; its ozone water treatment system cleans irrigation water, reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and improving plant quality and precision growing; and electrostatic sprayers reduce water and chemical use, and provide more targeted chemical applications. Other Top 100 Growers have found VanWingerden’s theory to be true, as well. Costa Farms’ investment in solar energy panels on three buildings at its […]

Read More
Petunia 'Supertunia Violet Star Charm' (2015 University of Georgia Field Trials)

May 10, 2016

New Southern-Centric Ornamental Production Conference T…

The 2016 Academy of Crop Production is dedicated exclusively to sharing information on advanced ornamental crop production and business management techniques for ornamental producers.

Read More
University of Florida Online Greenhouse Training Courses

April 25, 2016

University of Florida Offering Online Training Courses …

There will be five courses offered, with the first starting on May 30. Courses are available in both English and Spanish and range from beginner level to advanced education.

Read More
Sanitation programs are essential to preventing and removing food safety concerns.

April 7, 2016

USDA Launches GroupGAP Program For Fruit And Vegetable …

The new certification program is designed to help small and mid-size growers, including greenhouse vegetable producers, comply with new food safety regulations.

Read More
Young Plants Farm North Carolina

March 15, 2016

Young’s Plant Farm Obtains MPS-A Qualification

MPS, an organization that develops and manages certification for companies in the horticulture industry, has awarded MPS-A certification to Young’s Plant Farm in North Carolina and Alabama.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

March 14, 2016

Dr. Charlie Hall Will Offer Keynote Address At Farwest …

The Texas A&M economist will discuss factors affecting short- and long-term demand driving the future of the green industry.

Read More
Seed Your Future Logo

March 8, 2016

Longwood Gardens And American Society For Horticultural…

Under the direction of co-chairs Paul B. Redman of Longwood Gardens and Anna Ball of Ball Horticultural Company, the “Seed Your Future” initiative is designed to combat declining awareness of horticulture while promoting it as a viable career choice.

Read More
Florida Green Industry

March 4, 2016

University Of Florida Study Shows Green Industry Genera…

According to the study, the rise of large retail chain stores with garden departments has made plants and other horticultural products more readily available to consumers than ever before.

Read More
Great Lakes Growers Expansion

February 22, 2016

Great Lakes Growers Expands Its Production Capacity For…

The Burton, OH-based grower has added 25,000 square feet to its operation, helping it to keep up with rising consumer demand.

Read More
National Garden Bureau Logo feature image

February 16, 2016

New Officers And Directors At National Garden Bureau an…

During the ASTA Flower & Vegetable Seed Conference, National Garden Bureau and All-America Selections elected new officers and directors.

Read More
Katherine Wolper

January 24, 2016

Ludvig Svensson Hires Katherine Wolper As West Coast Sa…

Wolper says she looks forward to listening to growers and understanding the concerns, obstacles, and opportunities they face.

Read More

January 20, 2016

Tips For Overcoming Challenges In Family Business From …

Our industry is run by a collection of family businesses, and every one, no matter how big or small, has its share of management issues. But there are several differences between one that is run successfully as a business and one that allows family politics to distract from the organization’s goals. In this year’s State Of The Industry Survey, we noted that labor recruitment and succession are two areas where growers struggle. In talking with the owners of Costa Farms for this month’s cover story, I thought some of the values they have incorporated into the operation’s management structure really stood out as practices that other family businesses could use. The participatory management approach to business and team building is one that Tony Costa, the second-generation owner of Costa Farms, instilled in his children, Maria Costa-Smith and Jose Costa, and son-in-law, Joche Smith, the current owners of Costa Farms. In […]

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]