The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors

Plants that will someday be planted and grown outside in the sun and rain are often given their start inside under a roof. Creating a perfect environment indoors, with little or no help from Mother Nature, is the necessity of a successful greenhouse grower. While healthy plants in the right environment is the number one priority, it’s not the only priority. We share stories in this issue of how growers also save money and the environment, as well as make works of art, with their structures. 

Cost And The Environment


Concern for the wallet has turned into care for the environment. Buckley Growers Illinois, Elzinga & Hoeksema Greenhouses and Rambo Nursery are all saving money on heating costs thanks to changes in their structures. Buckley is using methane gas from landfills to heat its greenhouses. Methane gas! Unfortunately, garbage is a renewable resource, but at least someone’s found a way to put trash to good use.

While Elzinga has gotten into co-generation with an eye toward earth-friendliness. The operation’s new organic range was designed to reduce carbon output, but also reduced Elzinga’s energy costs. GMB, the architects that helped Elzinga design the solar/geothermal hybrid system, says the system is intended to provide 50 percent of the operation’s heating needs, while saving 45 percent in energy costs. 

Open Roofs

Stories front to back of this magazine focus on open-roof structures and growing plants in their natural habitats. Open roofs take advantage of good weather while it’s available, but also protect against storms. It seems this kind of growing would also garden proof crops, so consumers would be more successful gardeners. Natural light and air circulation are best for plants, and the latest open-roof technologies are helping make opens and closes more precise. Greenhouses at emerisa gardens have been retrofitted with open-roofs, giving the benefit of the open air without a completely new construction project. 

Innovative Designs

Working outside our comfort zones leads to innovation. The needs of unique projects lead to more innovative design. This month, we feature structures at the Buffalo Zoo’s Rainforest and the new two-story Anthura greenhouse. They’re unusual projects, but check them out. You may see something that could work for your operation.