To be honest, greenhouses mystify me. I don’t know how all of you out there do it. So much can go wrong–disease and pests, nutrition–and that’s just problems with your plants. Your structures are a whole other story. There are so many things to worry about–not enough heat, too much heat, expensive heat, water logistics. And, of course, there are the more extreme worries–debilitating hurricanes, fires and snowstorms. Getting ahead and staying ahead of structures issues is a job in itself, forget about growing great plants.
That’s why we were so impressed when we visited Eagle Creek’s greenhouses in Mantua, Ohio. Siblings John Bonner and Jill Cain gave us the grand tour of the facilities, but Gary Jansen, the facility’s maintenance magician and all-around Mr. Fix-It, really impressed us. The facility has switched its fuel source from petroleum-based products to wood-based products. And the mid-sized operation has two huge indoor pools for collecting water from the operation’s flood floors. Gary installed the pools and the towering wood-burning furnace himself.
The folks at Eagle Creek joked around telling us that during the time Gary took a leave of absence from the company, no renovation or retrofitting took place. Read all about Eagle Creek’s recent transformations in the story by Editor Delilah Onofrey here.
I’m sure many of you have become Mr. or Ms. Fix-Its yourselves, either out of interest or necessity. Hopefully, something you read in this issue will spark your imagination and give you some ideas for improving your structures. The National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association (NGMA) has some helpful tips on curtain systems, environmental controls, glazings, ventilation and cooling on its Web site, www.ngma.com/downloads.htm. For a sample, click here. There are also some changes happening at NGMA. Check out the story by Senior Staff Writer Laura Drotleff here.
Structures are where the magic happens. And we hope some of the products and stories in this issue help make your operation even more magical.