Greenhouse Management: Last year, you broke ground on a brand new greenhouse for D.S. Cole Growers. Congratulations on its completion! Can you tell us a little more about it?
Doug Cole: We built the newest acre of open roof glass with the main purpose of increasing our young plant (liner) business. In addition, we are growing potted annuals in the spring and summer and we are currently growing poinsettias in the house.
The structure was designed by VB Greenhouse to be similar to the rest of our range. We continued with our Ebb and Flo watering and internal transport system with movable benching from Logics. By installing these systems, the new structure has all the same benefits as the other areas. We are able to move crops easily throughout the facility with no exceptions. This allows us to have different climates throughout the range and then have the ability to move the crops in and out of those climates as the crop develops.
One major change in the newest construction was the installation of floor heating. We did this to make more efficient use of our boilers. Our newest boiler has a condenser on it which takes the cool returning heating water and allows the wasted heat that normally goes up the chimney to preheat the returning water from the greenhouse. We found that the system is so efficient that we need to turn the floor heat off early in the morning to allow it to cool down during the day.
With a combination of open roof glass, movable benches, ebb and flood watering, two thermal screens and both floor and top heating, we feel that the house is set up efficiently for any future pot crop and/or young plant production.