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Phil Bishop

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What Size of Greenhouse Do You Need?

Posted by Phil Bishop on May 11, 2017 3:25:38 PM

You need to know what you will be growing. Your market will help if not decide what you will or can grow. It can be done but it’s tough to persuade a market into buying a product they haven’t been looking for. I mention this a lot throughout several blog post and it’s because it is the foundation of the greenhouse design.

The size of the greenhouse is based on several things. The first is volume of product you need to grow. How much product do you need to produce for the business to grow and succeed? Within this there are more specific attributes about the plants that factor into the greenhouse size. The size of the plants need to be taken into account. This is done by knowing how many can be grown per square foot. Let’s take lettuce for example. On average a finished head of lettuce needs 1 square foot when ready for harvest. Taking the amount of lettuce that needs to be grown for the business to make money we can start to get an idea of the area needed.

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Topics: greenhouse

Intro to Greenhouse Environmental Control Staging

Posted by Phil Bishop on May 5, 2017 3:51:55 PM

Let’s assume the example greenhouse is a gutter connected, 2 bay greenhouse, 30’x96’ each, 60’x96’ total, with taller sidewalls, 10’-12’, just to give a frame of reference. Pun wasn’t intended but it works. The location is in the Midwest, let’s say…Indianapolis. It gets hot in the winter, cold in the summer. 

The springs and falls are mild but can swing from cold to hot in an instant.

Cooling and heating are operated in stages in this greenhouse. The purpose is to keep a consistent temperature for the plants. The cooling and heating must be sized correctly in order to defend against max temperatures, lowest of the lows and highest of the highs. Sizing will be explained in upcoming posts. For now let’s say they are sized correctly for Indianapolis, that has a -15°F to 110°F yearly temperature spread.

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Topics: greenhouse

Choosing Greenhouse Ventilation

Posted by Phil Bishop on May 1, 2017 3:14:46 PM

In a greenhouse, ventilation is tied with light and irrigation as the most important aspects of growing plants. Strictly talking about plant requirements, ventilation drives gas exchanges in the greenhouse, plant respiration and temperatures. In its basic form, ventilation is the process of moving air from outside to inside and from inside to outside the greenhouse.

Example: Apex Greenhouses (made up) is building a new greenhouse. They will be growing lettuce and using NFT. Apex is located in Oklahoma City. The greenhouse they are buying is a freestanding, 8’ sidewall, 30’ x 96’ structure. At this point the only thing defined is the structure size, a double layer poly film roof and the layout of the growing system. The growing system is laid out with a single 4’ walk way down the middle, 12’ NFT channels going from the walkway on either side to the sidewall, setting a foot from the sidewall. At one end is the harvesting location, 12’ x 30’ and at the other end is the planting area, 12’ x 30’. The actual growing space is 30’ x 72’. To work out the ventilation we need input from Apex as to how they want to ventilate, climate information and the growing needs of the plants.

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Topics: greenhouse

Assess Your Options for Growth

Posted by Phil Bishop on Apr 25, 2017 3:57:07 PM

It is important to evaluate whether you want to consolidate your business' position or find ways to grow.

If you decide that your priority is growth then you need to plan carefully if you are to succeed. Growth has its risks, but the right strategy can deliver stability, security and long-term profits. Once you've assessed the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your business and how well it's equipped to handle them, you can move on to the next stage - building a strategy for growth.

This guide shows you how to evaluate the right strategy for your business, when to launch it and what finance options suit which businesses. It looks at the pros and cons of diversifying and what other considerations you must think of to ensure development is smooth, on time and on target.

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Topics: greenhouse

Greenhouse Construction Definitions

Posted by Phil Bishop on Dec 13, 2016 3:01:13 PM

Construction Definitions

Basic Erection:

The greenhouse columns will be set in concrete piers or attached to a base plate to a provided foundation. The greenhouse frame will be erected, covering will be installed along with all Stuppy provided equipment. All electrical (power and control) inside and outside of the greenhouse are excluded. All plumbing (water and gas) inside and outside of the greenhouse are excluded. Equipment start up (HVAC) is excluded. PVC drain pipe from gutter downspout(s) and splash block(s) is included.

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Topics: new greenhouse

What Commercial Greenhouse Structure is Best for Your Business?

Posted by Phil Bishop on Aug 22, 2016 12:53:00 PM

Just as defining your market and finding your greenhouse location have variables that impact your business success, so too does the greenhouse structure. This does not only matter to new businesses but also for those of you wanting to expand or renovate your existing greenhouses. Up front, I will say what might not be the traditional thought behind buying a greenhouse and that is, each business is different and the greenhouse needs to be tailored to each business for them to be successful. Your greenhouse is the end product of your planning, not the starting point. Often, the greenhouse is thought of before the market you will be selling to, the product you are growing and even the systems that will be growing the products.

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Topics: commercial greenhouse, new greenhouse, greenhouse building process, designing a greenhouse

Are You a Business Person, Engineer or Grower?

Posted by Phil Bishop on Aug 12, 2016 11:16:59 AM



When it comes to running a commercial greenhouse, I have found that there are three general categories people fall into. These are not character defining traits or leadership defining but simply a frame of reference for decision making. Even within these three types the lines blur, because in order to run a successful greenhouse all are critical and each owner, manager or supervisor will make decisions involving every topic. This post is less about defining yourself and more about being self-aware of your strengths. If you know what your strengths are you can supplement your weaknesses by adding other people to your team that are strong in the differing categories. By doing this your management team will be well rounded as a whole. As you read through think about where your strengths lie.

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Topics: greenhouse growing, greenhouse market, greenhouse, greenhouse project, greenhouse specs

A Deeper Look at Finding Your Market

Posted by Phil Bishop on Jul 11, 2016 12:46:21 PM

Knowing your market or outlet, for the produce you will be growing and selling to, is as important as your growing facility. Who and where are your customers? Understanding your market points you in the right direction of narrowing down your greenhouse location. This is covered in our initial and the 3rd post, in this series. Highlights being market size, who the buyers are and planning for the future.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into why you need to understand your market.

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Topics: greenhouse business, starting a greenhouse business, greenhouse market, commercial greenhouse, greenhouse, new greenhouse, vegetable greenhouse

Does Your Greenhouse Location Matter and How do You Pick One?

Posted by Phil Bishop on Jun 29, 2016 3:42:48 PM

I had originally titled this post in our series, Commercial Vegetable Greenhouse: Starting from Square One, “Land,” boring I know but to the point. After thinking about who our customers are and where growers are wanting to build their greenhouses, I changed it to the title “Growing Location”.  Yes, another blockbuster title.

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Topics: civil engineering, greenhouse land, building time frames, building codes for greenhouse, greenhouse erection, building codes, city codes, greenhouse, new greenhouse, construction, site design

Don't Let the Timeline of Starting a Greenhouse Crush Your Dreams

Posted by Phil Bishop on Jun 20, 2016 1:45:16 PM

Time Frame

As you work through Part 1, it will become apparent that it is going to take a lot of time, not only to work through the initial planning phase but also to put the items into action. This is a short and sweet rundown of the very, very important topic of time management and expectations. Building a time table is the best way to stay on top of your building project as more and more actions are combined.  Just as growing crops follows a schedule, building a business needs to be laid out and follow a path of milestones, each milestone building on the last. Questions that we have listed in each of the previous posts and ones to come will have a time factor that will need to be taken into account and tracked. 

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Topics: greenhouse land, commercial greenhouse, building codes, greenhouse, greenhouse start up, new greenhouse, greenhouse project

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