This week I drove to the Pioneer Valley: Amherst, MA for an ASCFG meeting. The Director packed a very solid day with farm tours, and talks. As farmers know very well, a lot can be accomplished in 11 hours. One farm we visited grows strictly inside greenhouses:
Thousands of Lilies
These lilies are about to be picked an impressive height of three feet!
The unanimous favorite was the gardenia greenhouse. They are just stunning and smell amazing!
Due to decline in floral demand in recent years they have started tomato growing in the soil tubes. They make soil borne diseases like blight less of a concern.
The large greenhouses are heated in an unusual way: wood chip burners are attached to steam heat units that flood the greenhouses with warm steam. Although it is a complicated process, it is more cost effective than oil heating. An Auger system moves the wood from a bunker to the stove, and then expels the ash. The movement is steady, and the greenhouses are consistently warm. But this manner of growing depends on synthetic fertilizers, as the plants are growing in contained spaces.
I left the farm for 31 hours during this critical time for our seedlings…it seemed like I was gone for a week. Luckily, my husband cared well for of all my green babies and I returned to thriving plants. It is refreshing to go away but it was nice to be home again.