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 SvenssonGlobal.com, 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 EuroFresh.com. Learn more about Mardenkro’s ReduHeat at Mardenkro.nl.

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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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May 6, 2011

Reasonable Greenhouse Retrofits

Today’s economic climate isn’t exactly ideal for taking on large investments, like the debt you might incur constructing new greenhouses. But while some say the best greenhouse is one that is paid for, this isn’t always true, according to greenhouse engineer A.J. Both of Rutgers University. Both says growers should evaluate their structures’ efficiency before deciding whether building new or retrofitting existing greenhouses is the right decision. “I say a greenhouse that is paid for is a greenhouse that is ready to be replaced,” Both says. “Every situation is different and yes, building new will cost money, but so does operating an inefficient older structure. A thorough economic analysis may be needed to evaluate the best option.” Kurt Parbst of shade cloth and screen manufacturer Ludvig Svensson, agrees, but offers some goals for a successful approach to structure improvement. “Sometimes greenhouses that are paid for are very inefficient in their […]

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May 6, 2011

Van Wingerden Greenhouse Co.: Mountain Grown Plants

Dutch Heritage Gardens in Larkspur, Colo., recently installed three acres of the new MXIII greenhouse from Van Wingerden Greenhouse Co., bringing total production to six acres in the modern MX open-roof style. Founded in 2006, Dutch Heritage Gardens sits on 100 acres of land with room to grow. State-of-the-art facilities are equipped with automatic irrigation systems, a climate-controlled weather station, a full-size production barn and two loading docks. The wholesale greenhouse operation produces bedding plants, perennials, vegetables, herbs and combination patio planters in the spring and then mums, fall planters and poinsettias in the fall. Primary customers are grocery store chains and local retail garden centers, as well as fundraising organizations that provide plants to schools. The new greenhouse incorporates two fixed poly peaks and one operable poly peak in a 36-foot bay. This design provides a unique style of naturally ventilated greenhouse using inflated double poly and provides an […]

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May 6, 2011

Harnois Greenhouses: Converting To Organic

Innovation often lies as much with growers as it does with greenhouse manufacturers. A greenhouse is but another tool to an experienced grower. The creativity growers demonstrate in maximizing their structural investment and the ability with which they utilize the physical space and structural features of the greenhouse to continually test the limits of production is inspiring. Just this year, one of Harnois’ customers, Serres Sagami of Sagami Greenhouses in Quebec approached the greenhouse manufacturer with a vision to propel business into the organic market. The grower had been producing tomatoes conventionally with much success for many years and could have continued to keep customers and his banker happy for many more. However, he was driven to explore ways to push his business forward in a very competitive market. The turning point came when Sagami decided to add an additional 4.2 acres of organic tomato production to his 8.65 acres […]

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