May 21, 2012

Biomass Worth Your Consideration: GGS Structures

There are times when greenhouse growers can learn a thing or two from those producing vegetables indoors. The case of Taste Of The North, a Québec-based tomato, cucumber and bell pepper producer, is a good example. Eric Frechette, owner of Taste Of The North, purchased all the shares of Serres Lacoste 2000 in June 2011, and he immediately began an aggressive expansion and modernization plan. “The plan was to convert the existing heating system from waste oil to biomass in order to save more than 50 percent of heating costs, 10,000 tons of gas emissions and stop the dependence on fossil fuels,” Frechette says. “We also added another [2.5 acres] of greenhouses in order to meet the demand for high-end beefsteak tomatoes in Québec and New England markets.” Taste Of The North hired Niagrow Systems to design its heating system, and it worked with Chauffage Econoserres to manufacture an 850-horsepower […]

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May 21, 2012

Art Van Wingerden: Big-Picture Perspective

Metrolina Greenhouses, ranked sixth on the Top 100 Growers list, will be expanding even more in the next few years. Art Van Wingerden gave Greenhouse Grower a look into the operation’s future and explains why expansion will be necessary. GG: What’s driving the need for more production area at Metrolina? Are your customers increasing demand or are you supplying more retailers? AVW: The current customers we have just want more product. We’re not picking up a ton of stores. We’re trying to, of course. We don’t like to build unless we can fill it up year round. Our retailers are expecting us to do 5 to 7 percent more in the same store as we did last year. And we do a lot of contract growing, meaning we have people growing flats, 1801s, baskets and all kinds of other stuff for us. We started that about seven years ago and […]

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May 9, 2012

Company Launches Automated Outdoor Hydroponic Greenhouse

SuperCloset Hydroponics broke ground this week to build its first automated outdoor hydroponic greenhouse. Located on the side of the SuperCloset warehouse in San Francisco, Calif., a press release indicates the super greenhouse will showcase the company’s many hydroponic systems. It will also feature Sasquatch, an 18-foot-tall vertical grow system, next to the outdoor greenhouse. In addition to the company’s super greenhouse showroom, SuperCloset has created a turnkey hydroponics greenhouse product line. According to the press release, the greenhouse packages allow consumers to build a structure to transform a home gardener into a commercial farmer. “SuperCloset is extremely excited to add the outdoor greenhouse line to the indoor gardening line because now SuperCloset will truly have a solution for every season of the year,” says Production Director Nick Schweitzer in the press release.

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March 9, 2012

Nexus Expands Greenhouse Production Facilities

Nexus Corporation broke ground for the construction of an addition to its greenhouse manufacturing facility in Pana, Ill. on March 7, 2012. The building is expected to be completed within the next four months. The new facility will more than double the footprint of the existing building and will incorporate all of the latest in technological advances. Both steel and aluminum greenhouses are manufactured in the Pana plant. The expanded space and addition of equipment will triple capacity in the facility over the next two years. There will be a streamlined material flow from inventory to finished product. The Nexus Pana plant supplies both the Nexus and National Greenhouse product-line for customers in the Midwest and along the East Coast. “Our new facility is designed to maximize efficiency and enhance production. The new building will allow us to manufacture an even better product,” Nexus Corp. CEO Cheryl Longtin said. “We […]

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September 23, 2011

Svensson Debuts New Website

Built from the customer’s view, Svensson’s new website at, is designed for intuitive, easy researching. “We’ve packed the new site full of practical, usable information from case studies and by-performance product breakdowns to crop-specific tips,” says Kurt Parbst, president of Svensson’s North and South American subsidiary. At the new Svensson site, growers, retailers and other customers can research and explore according to their own specific needs. Users can view products by performance (solar reflection, energy saving, blackout, weather protection, insect control, ground cover, supplemental lighting and more), by application (inside, outside, open roof) or by system (sliding, hanging, rolling, unpleated, ground, roof/wall). Users can also read case studies of growers worldwide according to your own plant and production experience, whether pot plants, chrysanthemums, fruits, vegetables or other crops. “We’ve really designed the revised site around the users to make it as easy as possible for them to find not […]

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September 9, 2011

Former Carolina Nurseries Up For Sale

Looking for a 686-acre nursery located 45 minutes outside downtown Charleston, S.C.? Then the former Carolina Nurseries may be for you. Earlier this week, NRC Realty & Capital Advisors announced it’s initiating a sealed bid sale of the former Carolina Nurseries located in Moncks Corner, S.C. Among the assets currently owned by ZZ Acquisitions, which bought Carolina Nurseries in 2010, include: • 1 million-plus square feet of greenhouse and cold frame growing area; • 320 acres irrigated for plant production with a water recycling system; • An on-site water supply from 105 acres of lakes, plus off-site water rights and irrigation capacity of 800,000 gallons per hour; • A 54,000-square-foot plant production warehouse; • 100-plus acres of wooded land available for future expansion with rail availability; and • About 1.7 miles frontage on U.S. Highway 52. “This is the ideal property for someone looking to enter the horticulture industry or expand current […]

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August 10, 2011

Firing Up Biomass Boilers

In a time of high energy prices, many are looking to advance and diversify their greenhouse heating into alternative and renewable fuels with biomass-fired boilers. The biggest complications growers have with biomass boilers are the minimum firing rate and the nature of the fuel. Heat storage is a method to store heated water produced at one time to be used at a later point in the day. It is a similar concept to a battery, except you are not storing electrical energy but thermal energy. Niagrow sizes and provides tanks for customers across the United States and Canada. If you are running the boilers for CO2 production or operating a biomass boiler, then heat storage is a must. The potential for savings and peace of mind is enormous. All boilers have a minimum firing rate, and every boiler fuel is different, but the minimum firing rate is the level of […]

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July 22, 2011

New Product: ReduFuse Coating

Mardenkro’s ReduFuse coating enables reduction of heat while still allowing maximum light into the greenhouse. EuroFresh Farms, a tomato grower in Wilcox, Ari., recently ordered ReduFuse for 316 acres of glass greenhouses. The grower had trialed the coating, but now it’s applying ReduFuse to all of is greenhouses. According to Mardenkro, EuroFresh realized a more advanced plant under the ReduFuse. It was noticed not only in plant growth but also in terms of pounds harvested. Learn more about EuroFresh online at Learn more about Mardenkro’s ReduHeat at

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July 11, 2011

Growers Tackle Profit Picture

There’s no question times have been tough financially for growers. What are those who are most successful doing to stay ahead? That’s what we explored when we presented a “Boost Your Bottom Line” panel discussion featuring our four finalists for Operation of the Year–Bob’s Market & Greenhouses, Emerald Coast Growers, James Greenhouse and Rocket Farms. While weather during the spring season is out of our control, what are the things growers can control to influence the bottom line? To boost your bottom line, there are two parts to the equation–controlling costs and driving revenue and profit margins. In the discussion moderated by Greenhouse Grower’s Managing Editor Kevin Yanik, our panelists discussed: – Production decisions–reducing shrink, choosing more profitable crops – Labor and employees–providing health insurance, lean practices and employee training and evaluations, as well as experiences using the government’s H2A program for legal immigrant workers. – Serving customers–websites and social media, ecommerce, choosing […]

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June 1, 2011

Midwest Growers Weather Storms

This spring season may very well go on record as one of the stormiest. While torrential rains flooded landscapes and ruined plant sales, high winds and hail damaged greenhouses. “In 23 years of being a grower, I have never seen anything like this,” says Robin Waldrop Sr. of First Stage Greenhouses near South Bend, Ind. “Sales in April were way down due to cold, dark, wet weather. On top of that, every one of our greenhouses were nailed with hail ranging from golf ball size down to pea size. The pea size did the most damage and all the poly roofs will have to be changed. Thank God for insurance! We have had so much rain, it is standing in places I have never seen it pool before. We are pumping out as much as we can, but with the ground being so saturated, it has nowhere to go.” Heading […]

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May 10, 2011

Emergency Responders

Larry Gude won’t forget Feb. 5, 2010 anytime soon. That’s the date a monumental winter storm dumped two feet of snow on his greenhouses in Frederick County, Md., forcing a collapse of about 30,000 square feet at Gude Brothers Greenhouse. “The snow was very deep and very wet,” Gude says. “One of the sections of houses we had was structurally overwhelmed by the weight. It didn’t go down like dominoes; it went down in sections. It was a mess.” The thought was always in the back of Gude’s mind that his venlo-style greenhouses could collapse under the weight of a heavy snow. Gude had, after all, prepared for a day like Feb. 5 with his insurance agent, Hortica’s Luke Eckley, upon renewal each year. Gude’s first call following the collapse was to Eckley. His next was to Tom Richey, Hortica’s vice president of property claims, who referred Gude Brothers to […]

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May 6, 2011

Rising From The Ashes

Just outside the town of Villa Canales, Guatemala, lies Vita Farms, a 37-acre nursery with a long history of supplying young plants to our industry. In the course of a few days last May, however, a storm of fire, wind and water leveled the entire facility. Employees watched as their livelihoods were flattened. Pacaya is one of the many volcanoes in Guatemala, lying just southwest of Villa Canales. Normally a popular tourist destination, Pacaya woke with a fury May 27, erupting suddenly and unexpectedly. It spewed fire and ash for miles in every direction. At the farm outside Villa Canales, ash rained down and covered everything in sight. Mounds of the fluffy gray ash quickly gathered atop the greenhouses. Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom declared a state of calamity in the region adjacent to the volcano, and people were urged to stay in their homes to avoid the rain of ash […]

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