Technology Improves Orchid Production At Green Circle Growers
Green Circle Growers in Oberlin, Ohio, has a commitment to using production practices that are efficient and sustainable.
The operation has been growing Orchids for nine years, and is entering its second full year with its current system, which entails three camera grades.
“The camera grading — first at production into a 5-inch pot, then 12 weeks later and a final grade after the stem and buds have developed — is raising our overall quality,” says Wesley Van Wingerden, director of growing for Green Circle Growers.
Greenhouse Grower visited the operation to take a tour of its facilities and learn more about its Orchid production. Read on for more details about the process.
The first of the camera grades is incorporated into the transplant process, which involves placing the Orchids from a community tray into 5-inch pots. The plants are separated into three sizes with the smallest returning to the young plant growing area.
“This allows the growers to have the opportunity to treat the runts from production with specific applications,” says Van Wingerden.
The automated Orchid transplant line is specific to Green Circle Growers’ production needs, says Van Wingerden.
“The machine had to increase both the quality and efficiency at production,” he says.
After an employee places the Orchid into the clamps, the machine lowers the plant into the empty, 5-inch pot. As the pots continue around the carousel, bark is pushed into the pots and settles around the roots, which helps to avoid compaction in the growing media.
Production numbers are tracked and communicated daily. It aids management for planning purposes, and also gives specific targets to supervisors immediately when their shift begins.
Employees separate the plants by stem count, bud development and height.
“This process allows us to respond more quickly to specific requests from customers,” Van Wingerden says.
By the third camera grade, plants are nearly ready to be shipped.