Pleasant View Garden’s new 50,000-square-foot facility in Loudon, N.H., has only been on-line for a little over a month and a half, but the results are proving to be everything the company hoped for and more, says Facilities Manager Russ Elkins.
After overseeing the company’s most recent expansion project to convert a large range of outdated double-poly greenhouses heated with oil to one modernized, energy-efficient glass greenhouse, Elkins says his advice to other growers considering a project like this is to take plenty of time to plan in advance — at least a year.
“Keep on top of your vendors with due dates, timelines and most of all, your expectations for the final result,” he says. “You pay a lot of money to expand, and you want it done right the first time.”
The updated greenhouse interconnects about 150,000 square feet of Pleasant View Gardens’ facilities, which includes its production house and shipping building, and satisfies one of the company’s expansion goals — enhanced labor efficiency. Previously, the staff spent valuable time covering plants when moving them between separated houses to protect them from frigid temperatures, all while putting up the worst Mother Nature could throw at them, especially snow. Now the team moves everything under cover, saving time and reducing potential plant damage.
The facility is a gutter-connect Nexus Glass Atrium with an energy-saving, Vyncke biomass boiler that burns wood chips and includes multiple-sensor monitoring and water jacketing cooling for higher efficiency. As part of the biomass system, the installation of a large capacity, 250,000-gallon hot water tank, which supplies water to the greenhouses, acts as a back-up and gives the company more flexibility. Other modern conveniences include natural ventilation, flood floor irrigation with GTI misting booms, curtains, HAF fans and an Argus Titan environmental system.
Pleasant View Gardens’ production space, with the expansion project, now stands at 14 acres indoors at all locations and creates an opportunity for growing new crops, although the primary focus will be on Proven Winners spring finished materials, including hanging baskets, 41/4- inch grande and mixed patio pots. The improved light levels in the new structure will allow the company to finish crops earlier and bring them to market sooner, Elkins says.