July 15, 2010

Co-Ex’s New Poly Sheet Is Macrolux C

Macrolux C is a new, solid polycarbonate general purpose sheet from Connecticut-based Co-Ex Corporation. Macrolux C is ideal for use in a variety of applications, including machine guards, glazing applications, thermoformed parts and any application needing high light transmission and clarity combined with superior impact strength. A full range of sheets will be offered by CO-EX in thicknesses from 0.093 inches to 0.500 inches thick and sheet sizes of 4 x 8 feet, 5 x 8 feet and 6 x 8 feet. Macrolux C will initially be offered in general purpose grade clear but can be special ordered to meet a grower’s exact specifications. For protection during shipping, it will be supplied with white stick masking on both sides.  Visit co-excorp.com for more information on Macrolux C. Learn about the company’s new sales and marketing director.

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July 10, 2010

Green Circle Going Strong

I was fortunate to visit Green Circle last year. Since my visit then, Green Circle has installed five brand-new biomass boilers that heat all 90 acres of the operation’s greenhouses–even its greenhouses located across the street. Green Circle has an extremely impressive system for its massive boilers, starting with its wood chip storage facility and ending in a facility with five the Vynche boilers. Green Circle’s orchid production is a sight to see, as well. It produces about 1.35 million orchids each year and services Walmart, Home Depot and grocery chains. Green Circle’s orchid business with those customers did so well this spring, in fact, that additional greenhouses will be built for more production. In all, Green Circle has 12 bays with orchids and each bay can store 100,000 to 104,000 orchids.

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May 25, 2010

Expansions And Contractions In Structure Construction

How do you define growth for your greenhouse operation? Is it forming or enhancing customer relationships? Lessening your greenhouse operation’s carbon footprint while boosting your bottom line? Is it building new greenhouses? Growth, obviously, has different meanings to different growers, and enhancing relationships, boosting your operation’s bottom line and building new greenhouses all represent growth. But building greenhouses? It’s always been the tell-all indicator that business is good – maybe even booming – and that the operation building the greenhouses has a big-picture plan for expanding production. The golden age of building greenhouses is gone, though. Structures are still being erected each year, as the 2010 Top 100 Growers Report in our last issue reveals. Our 2009 report, however, showed the Top 100 Growers as a whole actually reduced production space from 2008. And 2009, according to Bill Vietas, the vice president of sales for Rough Brothers, was a year […]

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May 25, 2010

Snow Loads: Holding The Winter Weight

A brutal winter can be a real wake-up call for growers. Forcing you to ask questions: Are my greenhouse structures up to par? Are they strong enough to withstand heavy snow from a late and unexpected storm while we’re in the middle of production? The questions are legitimate ones, and industry veterans provide some answers. They explain how a little practicality, heat and attentiveness can go a long way – and may even save the season for your operation. Snow Removal Along with keeping a close eye on the local and national weather reports, Jaderloon’s Neil Devaney advises removing all exterior shade cloth before anything else. “The snow will grab that cloth a lot more and hold,” he says. “If that happens, it won’t go anywhere and just turn into ice.” Once the snow starts coming down, Devaney says long-handled brooms and PVC pipes are excellent for manually working the […]

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May 25, 2010

Hoop Houses For Haiti

. The cost for one home, including materials and shipping, is $300. Donations of any amount are, however, accepted and appreciated. 

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May 25, 2010

Eager To Build

There is no voice in the sky, like the one delivering messages to Kevin Costner’s character in the movie “Field Of Dreams,” whispering about building greenhouses and the result being more customers. But what if the voice in the sky is, instead, your instinct telling you this is the year to build more greenhouses? Would you follow your instinct? Few growers have followed their instincts to build, at least looking at the last couple years, and they cite poor weather or the economy as the factors that put their operation’s expansion plans off another year. There’s nothing wrong with citing those factors, of course: Good weather is a must and a strong economy is important, too, if you’re going to add greenhouses every year or two. But sticking to a big-picture growth plan–if growth is, in fact, part of the vision you have for your operation–should be a factor in […]

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May 18, 2010

Pleasant View Gardens’ Unexpected Expansion

Henry Huntington knew something was horribly wrong when Russ Elkins, his facilities manager, stormed into his house screaming at 3 in the morning January 21. Please, oh please, let this early-morning wakeup be the result of a failed boiler, Huntington must have thought. Unfortunately, as Huntington jumped out of bed and peered out his bedroom window overlooking his greenhouses, he saw flames engulfing them. “You have that panic feeling, and my first real reaction was what are we going to do?” says Huntington, owner of Pleasant View Gardens in Loudon, N.H. “How does this affect us? How’s it going to affect our customers?” The fire’s timing was far particularly bad for Pleasant View, a liner producer that’s essentially in peak production during Week 3. At the time, production space was filling quickly and at a premium, so losing 30,000 square feet–the space Pleasant View ultimately lost among its 12 acres […]

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April 27, 2010

Auctions: Bid For Success

Bidding On Structures Everything goes in a liquidation auction, and that includes the greenhouse structures themselves. But unless you’re also buying the real estate underneath the greenhouse, you’re going to have to pick it up and move it. When you consider the additional costs of tearing down, relocating, and rebuilding, does it make bottom-line sense to bid on someone else’s greenhouses? “Sure, especially if you’re talking about hoop houses. They are easy to dismantle, move, and install,” says Daniel West of West Auctions. Bidding on these structures, he says, is usually very competitive and brings a good price for the seller. Bigger greenhouse structures, however, tend to be a different story. They typically bring lower returns for sellers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean buyers are champing at the bit to pick up a bargain, either. “It’s often a lot more comforting to your board of directors to hear you’re going […]

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March 19, 2010

Update: Hoop Houses In Haiti

[imageviewer] Since we last reported Feb. 9 on the hoop houses Esbenshade’s Greenhouses designed and built for homeless Haitians following the January earthquake, 80 of the 200 have been erected and are now providing shelter in Haiti. The other 120 hoop houses are in Haiti but grounds need to be cleared before the houses are set up. In addition to the original 200 Esbenshade’s sent, the greenhouse operation is currently planning to send parts for another 200 hoop houses. “This time, we’re going to be sending more raw materials down,” Terry Esbenshade says. “YWAM (Youth with a Mission International) has people down there who are now familiar with the hoop houses, and they’re going to be doing the work that we were originally doing. It’s more feasible that way.” to read our original story about the hoop houses.

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February 17, 2010

Gude Grief: Snow Putting A Damper On Spring

Four hundred thousand plants filled Gude Brothers Greenhouse’s 67,000-square-foot facility just a couple weeks ago in Middletown, Md. Now, owner Larry Gude hopes 100,000 of those plants are salvageable. Gude Brothers lost an estimated $750,000 in plants earlier this month when large sections of its structures caved due to the weight of snow. Nearly half the Gude Brothers facility is ruined, Gude says, and Hortica is assessing the damages. “We do petunia baskets,” Gude told The Frederick News-Post. “We filled 5,000 baskets with soil. They were all sitting on the tables. Now they’re covered with snow and glass. “I went into shock.” In addition to the estimated $750,000 in plant loss, the structural damage may add up to $1 million. You can watch video of the collapsed Gude Brothers greenhouses. Gude Brothers isn’t the only operation battling snow–although its snow damage is just about as extreme as it gets. Growers […]

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February 9, 2010

Hoop Houses For Haiti

After the tsunami struck Southeast Asia in 2004, Roger Esbenshade saw the tents housing the homeless on TV and in photographs and thought better, more durable structures could be designed and built to serve as temporary shelters. After the earthquake struck Haiti last month, Esbenshade and his brothers, Terry and Scott, got to work on a hoop house design to shelter the homeless. The Esbenshades, who operate Esbenshade’s Greenhouses in Lititz, Pa., rounded up the parts needed to assemble the hoop houses, calling on several different vendors to create the design they wanted. They attached all the pieces and shipped 200 separate hoop houses each measuring 14 by 16 feet to Haiti. Esbenshade’s didn’t take on the project alone, though. More than 100 volunteers came together to make the project a success. “The volunteers were people from the community, people from the church we go to and other people who […]

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