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...

October 10, 2017

Sharpen Your Skills in Cost Management and Profitability With This Online Course

The University of Florida is offering a new online course on costing and profitability. The course will take growers through the process of how to accurately evaluate cost of production, labor efficiency, pricing, and equipment investment decisions.

Read More
Willoway Nurseries Team

October 1, 2017

How Willoway Nurseries Gets Its Staff Engaged in The Company’s Future

Willoway Nurseries in Avon, OH, is creating a culture with people who think, act, and feel like owners. Learn how its team is taking the business to the next level.

Read More

September 21, 2017

Horticulture Is All About Connections

The beauty of our industry is that we are more than willing to reach out and help those around us. What connections can you make today to help your business, and what can you offer to help another grower?

Read More
Latest Stories

October 10, 2017

Sharpen Your Skills in Cost Management and Profitabilit…

The University of Florida is offering a new online course on costing and profitability. The course will take growers through the process of how to accurately evaluate cost of production, labor efficiency, pricing, and equipment investment decisions.

Read More
Willoway Nurseries Team

October 1, 2017

How Willoway Nurseries Gets Its Staff Engaged in The Co…

Willoway Nurseries in Avon, OH, is creating a culture with people who think, act, and feel like owners. Learn how its team is taking the business to the next level.

Read More

September 21, 2017

Horticulture Is All About Connections

The beauty of our industry is that we are more than willing to reach out and help those around us. What connections can you make today to help your business, and what can you offer to help another grower?

Read More
Worker taking cuttings at Vivero Internacional.

September 11, 2017

Vivero Internacional Elevates Clean Cuttings to New Hei…

One of the last independent cutting operations, this fast-growing company raises the standard for delivering clean, high-quality unrooted cuttings.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

September 5, 2017

C. Raker & Sons Acquired By Roberta’s Unique Garden…

Ownership will change hands in December, and Raker will supply young plants for the 2018 season. Beyond that, leadership of the two operations say they are excited to move forward with a partnership that will continue to supply the industry, and gardeners, with top-quality plants.

Read More

August 1, 2017

MPS Honors D.S. Cole Growers for 10 Years of Sustainabi…

At Cultivate’17, a ceremony to mark a 10-year milestone since D.S. Cole Growers became involved with More Profitable Sustainability (MPS), as the first U.S. grower to achieve MPS certification, took owner Doug Cole by surprise. Separate celebrations also recognized Metrolina Greenhouses and Dümmen Orange for achieving MPS certification.

Read More
Nexus greenhouse construction for Knox Cannabis Facility

July 27, 2017

Ornamental Growers Will Revolutionize Cannabis Industry…

Professional growers have much to offer the emerging cannabis market, according to the co-owner of Knox Medical, one of the licensed cannabis producers in Florida.

Read More
Ball ColorLink logo

July 11, 2017

Get Guidance on Running Your Business from Ball ColorLi…

Representatives from Ball ColorLink will be on-hand at Cultivate’17 to answer questions and present business-building tools and industry insights to growers.

Read More
Lean Consortium in Washington

July 10, 2017

Washington Growers Join New Horticulture Lean Consortiu…

The group of growers has committed to learning and applying the principles of Lean, a method for eliminating waste that results in more value to customers delivered at a lower cost, in a shorter time, with fewer defects and less human effort.

Read More

April 11, 2017

Jerry Halamuda of Color Spot Nurseries Retires

The co-founder of Color Spot Nurseries has retired, effective immediately, and has named a replacement.

Read More

March 21, 2017

How Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Can Prepare for a Prod…

The United Fresh Produce Association is holding a Recall Ready Workshop in April that is designed to help growers properly manage a recall, from liability to communications.

Read More

March 14, 2017

Expanded Customer Footprint, E-Commerce, Succession Key…

Costa Farms' acquisition of indoor foliage producer Delray Plants rocked the industry, but the story behind Delray Plants' sale is the same as for many growers struggling with succession planning. For Costa Farms, the strategic purchase expands its customer footprint and also fast tracks its foray into e-commerce.

Read More

March 10, 2017

Costa Farms Expands With Purchase of Indoor Houseplant …

Costa Farms annnounced March 10 that it has acquired Delray Plants, one of the leaders in the indoor houseplant industry. The two operations are committed to the same values, principles, and goals to grow the industry, and will fit well together to accomplish this, say Randy Gilde, CEO of Delray Plants, and Joche Smith, CEO of Costa Farms.

Read More
Ken and Deena Altman

March 7, 2017

Altman Plants in Escrow to Purchase EuroAmerican Propag…

Ken Altman, a co-owner of Altman Plants based in Vista, CA, has confirmed that the operation is currently in escrow to purchase EuroAmerican Propagators, the Bonsall, CA-based young plant and finished plant grower that filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on Jan. 23, 2017. Ken and Deena Altman are co-owners of Altman Plants and The Plug Connection, along with their son Matthew, who has recently bought into the family business. The 55 acres of land and all of the facilities on it, which were previously owned by Jerry Church, a partner in EuroAmerican Propagators, are part of the purchase agreement currently in escrow, Altman says. However, it would not be absorbed by Altman Plants, which in 2016 was number 3 on Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers list with more than 11 million square feet of environmentally controlled greenhouse production, 62 acres of shade production, and 400 acres of outdoor field production. Altman Plants’ property […]

Read More
EuroAmerican Propagators Greenhouses

February 14, 2017

Suppliers Comment on Plant Genetics’ Fate After EuroAme…

Since the operation’s bankruptcy filing on January 23, 2017, suppliers associated with EuroAmerican Propagators have updated Greenhouse Grower on what the operation’s bankruptcy means for them – and how it will impact grower customers.

Read More
Stephanie Whitehouse

January 17, 2017

Stephanie Whitehouse Takes Her Passion for Plants to Di…

Stephanie Whitehouse, who has spent the last seven years as the Sales and Marketing Director for Peace Tree Farm in Kintnersville, PA, recently joined Dickman Farms Greenhouse and Garden Center in Auburn, NY, as the company’s new Retail General Manager.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

December 6, 2016

Are You Driving Young Growers Away? [Opinion]

In a time when the industry is facing a critical shortage of both labor and skilled, educated growers, it's important that grower operations don't unwittingly turn candidates off to a career at their business or in the industry in general. Take a closer look at your hiring practices to ensure you are being inclusive and not breaking any laws.

Read More
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means F…

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More