News

May 25

Greenhouse Climate Control

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At one time small to medium sized growers thought that climate control computers were expensive and only for the large operations. That has changed! Presently there are some very powerful systems available for every size greenhouse operation. Even if you have freestanding greenhouses there are simple cost effective solutions to control your climate and most importantly monitor what is the climate in each greenhouse remotely.

Climate Control

Not only does this give the grower peace of mind and save time checking, it saves money on utilities. If you have a separate thermostat controlling your heating and cooling, we all know that in the shoulder seasons they often are on at the same time. And that is expensive!

Depending on your location, there may be incentives from your local utilities that will offset some of the capital costs of installing climate control in your greenhouse. Combine the rebate and the saved energy costs, return on investment can be realized the first year! Now is a good time to call your Paul Boers Manufacturing sales rep and discuss your specific needs.

Are you expanding this year? Now is the time to call your Paul Boers Manufacturing sales rep and discuss your options. Summer and early fall are the ideal time for construction. These dates are rapidly filling up with orders. Be aware that greenhouse construction crews have limited time and are also rapidly filling their schedule. We at Paul Boers Manufacturing are well networked with several greenhouse construction crews across North America, and will assist you in finding a good solution to supply and install your new expansion.

Call Rudy Ouwersloot or Adam Lagerwerf

Climate Control 2

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Feb 02

Heavy Snowfall Tips for Greenhouse Owners

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There are a few things to watch out for in winter weather that should always be on a greenhouse growers mind. Underestimating a snow storm can be detrimental if no precautions are taken beforehand. A few things to watch out for are listed below.

Heavy Snow Load - Greenhouse

Watching the weather pattern, making sure adequate heating is in place for snow melt in case of a snow storm, and in extreme scenarios, having the right tools standing by to combat a heavy snowfall sitting on top of your greenhouse, if it is accumulating. Of course it is not ideal to fire the heat on when there is no snow falling. But it is a fine line, as it becomes critical to fire on the heat early enough, amidst a snow storm moving in. If the roof does not have enough time to get hot enough, snow melt will not start fast enough, leaving the snow to pile up on the roof. Heat has an easier time getting to the snow on a glass roof. It doesn’t have 2 layers to work through for melting to begin. On a double poly roof, it is actually critical that the inflation gets deflated before the snow begins piling up. This will allow the heat warming up the inside layer to touch the outside layer of poly as well, which will create the snow melt on the roof. Other tricks growers have used is using electrical heating wire in the gutters for snow melt, or bringing in propane fired space heaters for the winter season only. The important thing is that no greenhouse is without a “heating plan” in a massive snow storm, and every greenhouse is equipped with some sort of heating system.

Heavy Snow Load - Poly Greenhouse

If it is undesirable to be running heat for many weeks in winter, the best option is to simply remove the poly on the roof before the snow sets in. Leave the greenhouse as a skeleton frame over the winter season. This way the snow will fall right through to the ground. But for growers with a lot of infrastructure inside the greenhouse, this is not a feasible option. In a gutter-connected greenhouse, whether glass or double poly, it is a good option to make the extra investment with the greenhouse purchase, and consider under gutter beams/trusses or extra support where the snow load will be most damaging. But this is only to give the grower piece of mind in case a storm sets in quickly, and snow is piling up on the roof. It does not mean you don’t need a heating system in your greenhouse.

Important things to remember.

  1. Have a heating plan in your greenhouse.
  2. Deflate the poly in a plastic greenhouse before a storm.
  3. Have a backup plan if snow is not melting fast enough off your greenhouse in extreme snowfall.
  4. In emergency scenarios, cut the poly off the roof.

Sincerely,
Adam Lagerwerf

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Aug 24

Are you planning a new build?

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The key word is planning! At Paul Boers and Prins Greenhouses we help execute many projects a year and our experience is that planning takes more time than expected by the client. The easy part is getting the quote for the new greenhouse. There are several items listed below that need your attention that will help you get your project done on time.

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Financing:
We suggest that you first call your Paul Boers sales rep and initiate a discussion of what your plans are. Budget prices based on experience can be determined in this initial consolation that can be taken to your lending institution to get an indication if getting the financing will be approved and how long it will take.

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Permits:
Rules at the local municipality change. Don’t think “the last time the permit was no issue and I got it in 10 days” so it will be the same thing this time. Visit your local Town Hall and ask for an Early Consultation with the planning department. They have these handy forms that you need to fill in when you submit your application for building permits. When meeting in person at Town Hall the staff member will check the records and give you the latest information regarding zoning matters pertaining to your property. Watch out for especially for any parts of your land falling under the Conservation Authorities Jurisdiction. They can really hold up the permit approval process.

Utilities:
Is your electrical service and Natural Gas service sized for the anticipated needs of the new build?

Water:
Recently I wrote about nutrient water management and it would be good to review that blog if you are planning an expansion (http://www.paulboers.com/wp/water-management/). You also need to be aware of the rules pertaining to Storm Water Management. These regulations are being enforced on farm land as well so be prepared to hire an engineer to design the Storm Water Management Plan.

Also what will be your source for irrigation water? Do you have enough supply?

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We at Paul Boers have experience on how to handle permit, utilities and water issues so please when you are planning a expansion, involve us early so we can help you get the above issues addressed long before your new greenhouse needs to be ordered!

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Jul 06

Greenhouse Ventilation

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Greenhouse ventilation methods have really branched out over the past 20 years. In the early 90′s, fans and louvers were the dominant method of cooling your greenhouse. Even greenhouses going up that were 20,000 sq. ft. or larger would be equipped with many fans and louvers, to suit the growers cooling requirements. But over the years, growers have learned that electricity does not come cheap, and this created a desire to improve efficiency. With the electricity rates climbing higher and higher in the early 90′s, it did not make sense to run high powered exhaust fans all day long, when mother nature can provide a much more affordable and sufficient form of ventilation.

Starting in the mid 90′s, different styles of roof vents were being introduced to combat the higher prices of hydroelectricity. Both poly greenhouses and glass greenhouses were implementing multiple new designs. Each style of greenhouse ventilation has its own strengths, depending on the design of the vent, and which direction it opens. The gutter vent was one of the first styles to be introduced on a poly greenhouse. Glass greenhouses have proved quite successful using mini vent windows. From here, different styles have evolved to effectively cool any given crop, and its required cooling capacity. Paul Boers offers many different styles of roof vents that will best accommodate the growers’ needs and their crop requirements. Just tell our sales crew which crop you grow, and in which particular area of North America (or abroad), and we will certainly recommend the best option for your particular growing situation.

Gutter Vent

Raised Roof Vent

Contact Adam Lagerwerf for more information
905-933-5555
Adam@PaulBoers.com

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Sep 02

What is your Greenhouse Vision?

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Riverview 5

 

What is your Greenhouse Vision?

Paul Boers has been helping bring our customers’ dreams to fruition for over five decades now. We pride ourselves on sharing in your vision and offering you the best possible greenhouse solution to meet your needs. As you can imagine, we have heard some pretty crazy “dreams” over the years but a recent project in Appleton, Wisconsin was a true first for us.

Riverview Gardens is a financially self-sustaining social enterprise, focused on job training for people in need, utilizing urban farming practices. They provide fresh produce via CSA shares and sell directly to some local institutions as well. Riverview Gardens is situated on 72 acres near downtown Appleton that used to be a country club. They are currently are growing almost year-round in 20 cold-frames.

We started talking with Riverview just over a year ago about their desire to provide fresh produce to the community all 52 weeks of the year. That in itself is normal–we get similar requests weekly to help provide our customers season/market extension. However, they also had a strong desire to utilize the abandoned swimming pool, locker rooms and existing deck space that had been abandoned when the country club closed. They wanted to “upcycle” the existing infrastructure as opposed to bulldozing it into a hole.

We are very happy to report that yet another one of Paul Boers’ customer’s dreams are indeed becoming reality! Our design team helped Riverview Gardens develop a “Deep Water Culture” (DWC) hydroponic system to utilize the existing swimming pool. Paired with one of our Herculon gutter connect greenhouses and an additional NFT growing tray system along the pool deck, we estimate an annual harvest of nearly 250,000 heads of lettuce!

We at Paul Boers pride ourselves on helping take your dreams and bring them to reality. Call us today to see how we can do just that for you.

http://riverviewgardens.org
Adam Lagerwerf
905-933-5555
Adam@PaulBoers.com

Riverview 3

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May 28

Water Management

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Everyone who pays attention to the news has heard about water shortages in California and the impact that is having on farming and every citizen in those areas affected. A new law was passed in April 2015 where the governor required cities and towns to cut water usage by an average of 25 per cent. Many urban residents are asking why their water is being restricted when about 80 percent of piped water is actually used in the state’s fields and orchards.

 In the United States and Canada there is a strong push to become environmentally friendly both in the quantity of water used as well as the quality of water discharged back into the land.

 Did you notice (in Ontario) the name change of the MOE? As of June 24 2014 the Ministry of Environment is now the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC)! The purpose of this expanded title is to “work with other ministers and ministries to coordinate the province’s response to climate change,”

We can be sure that regulations that are already law will be enforced. Are you aware of those laws? In Ontario to operate a greenhouse you are required by law to:

  • get a Permit to Take Water (PTTW), if you take more than 50,000 litres of water on any given day from a lake, stream, river, pond or groundwater source
  • get approval from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to discharge sewage, including storm water, process water and sanitary sewage
  • get approval to use, operate, establish, alter, extend or replace new or existing sewage works
  • properly store and handle pesticides and hold a Greenhouse/Interior Plant exterminator or Grower Certificate to apply certain pesticides

In early 2012, Flowers Canada members supported a funding request for a Water Specialist to provide guidance to the floriculture sector on the issues related to water management. The Water Specialist role has two main components: assisting growers with the development of Greenhouse Water Abatement Plans, and to collaborate with the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG), The Ontario Greenhouse Alliance (TOGA), the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Ministry of Environment (now MOECC), and FCO members to develop appropriate and sustainable management solutions for greenhouse waste water. For more information on this project please contact Jeanine West at Jeanine@fco.on.ca

 There are solutions to complying with the law. Especially when planning a new facility or expanding your greenhouse. Our team at Paul Boers /Prins Greenhouses would love to help your team plan your water management strategy. Let our experience help your bottom line and keep you growing green! Call your sales rep today.

 

Once run off water is collected, discuss with
us how to treat it!

Rudy Ouwersloot

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Oct 02

Rudy’s Blog – October 2, 2014

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 Blog by Rudy OuwerslootIC_interlighting_HID_HR

Come by our Booth at the Canadian Greenhouse Conference to see the modules in action and discuss the opportunities for your business

Philips Inter-lighting on Tomato and Cucumber Greenhouse Crops

Some Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers are starting to experiment with LED Lighting on Tomato and Cucumber crops. Research in Europe and Japan has proven that LED Inter-lighting is a viable, profitable option for the industry.  Although Ontario growers are ready to invest in new technology, true to most farmers, nobody wants to be the first to take the plunge with such a large investment until it has been proven at the commercial level and scale.  This year a few growers are starting with their own trails and the results will be closely monitored by Philips Horticulture Lighting.  Doug Marlow M.Sc.(Hort.), Business Development Manager with Philips, will be working closely with the growers and collecting data that will be shared with the industry.

Traditional HPS Top lighting has been long proven to be effective for increasing the production of cucumbers and allowing tomato growers to produce during the dark winter months. The high cost of electricity and in some areas the availability of electricity, has forced the growers to look for alternatives.

The efficiency and the low- heat characteristic of LED and Philips innovative idea of inter-lighting all combine with getting the necessary light levels to where the plant needs it most in order to promote growth and increased production.

Paul Boers Manufacturing is excited to be involved with some of the smaller trails and also the first large scale LED inter-lighting project in Ontario.  Working closely with Philips and the grower we were able to develop an innovative plan that although is a large capital investment, that normally is intimating for farmers and bankers, will see a relatively fast return on investment!

Key to return on investment is not only the increased production but also the marketing value.  The grower will now be able to supply tomatoes to his client base all year! The traditional growing method of replanting in December / January forced his client to import tomatoes for those months and the consumers noticed the change in quality.

The increased Tomato production estimate that we are confident about, using the Philips double-line of LED Inter-lights is between 16% and 20%.   This is based on the increased number of mols of light applied to the crop and the goal is to create the conditions whereby we can have the opportunity for winter production.  The yield potential and higher sales value potential, aside from additional light, is also a function of planting date, internal available sunlight (roof transmission) and optimisation of the growing conditions (irrigation and climate).  Having said this, we are very confident that the amount of LED Inter-lighting that we supplement with will have the ability to produce a strong, healthy crop during the winter as supplemental to the sunlight you receive.

Presently Philips LED Top Lighting is not available in North America. Further testing is being in done in Europe before they launch Top Lighting in North America. To date all testing is looking very interesting and all indications are that with the additional top lighting, production numbers increase even further.

Myself and Sam Shroyer are monitoring the test results in Europe and will be sharing the information with our client base so we can continue to be one step ahead of the industry revolution in LED lighting!

Paul Boers Manufacturing has also been working closely with the electricity suppliers in Ontario  to help growers take advantage of the saveONenergy program. This program has benefited the growers with a large incentive rebate.  This grant money only adds to the return on investment!

Call us and we will arrange a consolation where we can  prepare  for you a  complete  business plan based on projected production,  capital costs, and return on investment, ready for you to discuss with your accounting team.

Rudy – Cell Phone 905-933-6052 (Canada)

Sam – Cell Phone 563-663-5323 (USA)

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Apr 11

Niagara Region Science and Engineering Fair

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Every once in a while you read something that gives you a smile and hope for our kids – I love this story!  All the experts in the field never thought of it.

A secondary school student invents a pest integration system to help greenhouse grower.

Ben Friesen entered into the Niagara Region Science and Engineering Fair which was held at Brock University on March 29.  Ben who is in grade 10 at Grimsby Secondary School has developed an ISPI: Integrated System for Pest Integration, to help the greenhouse grower. Friesen got the idea from a greenhouse operator who assisted him with a project last year.

Greenhouse operators hire etymologists to come in and monitor the concentration of pests and insects. The etymologists use sticky tape cards to trap the pests and then analyse the results. Operators would have to keep daily track of these numbers, but hiring an etymologist everyday is very expensive.

Ben’s creation uses a sticky card and a camera takes a shot at the end of the day and specialized software – along with an algorithm Friesen wrote – analyses the photo and determines the number of pests and what kind they are. Results are then emailed to the operator.

To read more:

http://www.niagarathisweek.com/news-story/4454100-gss-trio-takes-down-reigning-science-kings

(taken from HortiNews)

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Apr 03

MasoniCh.I.P. Ontario

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On March 29th, 2014 Paul Boers sponsored the MasoniCh.I.P. Ontario Child Identification Program held at the Grantham Optimist Club in St. Catharines.  They had a good turn out and we were happy to be a part of it.  You can see pictures here:

http://www.niagaramasons.com/Photo%20Album/2014-03-29%20MasoniChip%20event.htm

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Mar 31

Dumbarton Oaks

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http://www.susquehannastyle.com/April-2014/Gorgeous-Gardens-Dumbarton-Oaks/
Great article on Dumbarton Oaks – they have Paul Boers growing benches! They are located in Washington, D.C.

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