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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
April 27, 2010
Auctions: Bid For Success
The phrase “greenhouse auction” might not bring happy thoughts to mind. It is, after all, often the final option for growers who find themselves financially over their heads. There are some positive aspects to the process, however. An auction can provide opportunities for growers – big or small – looking to add or upgrade equipment they might not be able to afford new. Auctions can also be used in situations where a grower is expanding the business and looking to liquidate old facilities or equipment to make room for new growth. No matter what reason you’re considering the auction process, there are a few things sellers – and buyers – should keep in mind. Know What To ExpectFor a grower who finds himself in a position where he needs to sell quickly, there are some advantages to using an auction to move facilities, equipment and real estate, says Daniel West, […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
January 21, 2010
Fire At Pleasant View Gardens
A fire broke out at Pleasant View Gardens in Loudon, N.H., this morning around 3 a.m. Fortunately for Pleasant View, the local fire department was quick to respond and contain it. “There was minimal damage to crops at Pleasant View because the IBG/Nexus (greenhouse range) was one of the last ranges to be utilized for the spring season,” says Carol Huntington, marketing manager at Pleasant View. “Between our strong Proven Winners network and very limited crops in the IBG/Nexus (range), we are confident there will be little to no impact on orders.” Huntington says Pleasant View will asses the damage over the next couple days and share more information when some is available. For more information on Pleasant View Gardens, visit PVG.com.
October 7, 2009
NGMA Hosting Conference In Hawaii
Growers interested in attending the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association’s (NGMA) 2010 spring conference will soon be able to register. The upcoming conference will take place Aprill 18-20 at the Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku (Oahu) Hawii. Events include the annual golf outing and volleyball tournament along with committee meetings, educational sessions and product information exchange. This conference is a great opportuinity for educational enrichment through their speakers and one-on-one business sessions. To make reservations, call the Turtle Bay Resort at 800-203-3650. Make sure you mention NGMA for the discounted rate. For conference registration visit www.ngma.com and for more information on the Turtle Bay Resort, check out www.turtlebayresort.com.
July 23, 2009
Hail Storm Shreds Greenhouse Roofs
Stevens and Son Wholesale Florist is in clean-up mode this week after a Monday night hailstorm destroyed greenhouse roof coverings at its two facilities in Arvada, Colo. All coverings were made of Dynaglass, and not a single panel of it is salvageable. “It’s just a mess,” Bruce Daniel, company president, said Thursday. “We’re trying to complete one small project at a time and move forward. We’re scrambling to find materials and put a plan together. It’s a nightmare.” Daniel estimates damage well into six figures, but the operation is still in business. Twenty to 30 percent of plants were lost, and the operation expects the roof replacement process to take about six weeks. Stevens and Son will use Dynaglass coverings as the replacement material. For more on the story, click here. You can also visit the Stevens and Son website and view a slideshow of the damage sustained here.