Pumps and Pipes

“Will the 007 be enough?”  is a common question in early spring as greenhouses around the region fire up and we do our best to keep seed trays and their cargo warm on the still-cool nights.  My mind instantly goes to “which movie?” And then I crash back to earth and realize this is a […]

Thermostats for Agriculture

I am often asked by growers to recommend a thermostat for greenhouse, cooler, or postharvest process use.  There are many to choose from and their specifications can be confusing. It is important to remember just what a thermostat does. It is essentially no different from the light switch on the wall with one very significant […]

Vermont Farmers Food Center Heats with Biomass

UVM Extension and others supported the recent installation of a 341,200 BTU/hr (output) multi-fuel biomass boiler at the Vermont Farmers Food Center (VFFC) in Rutland, VT.  The boiler heats the Farmer’s Hall building with the capability to use several alternative fuels to displace propane. The boiler was fueled primarily on wood pellets but was also […]

Grass and “Ag Biomass” Competitive with Wood Chips

Recent testing at the Meach Cove Trust has demonstrated strong economic and technical feasibility of grass-based biomass combustion fuels.  The use of solid, densified, cellulosic biomass fuels has been well demonstrated with wood pellets in residential and light commercial systems and wood chips in larger, often centralized systems.  The Grass Energy Partnership of the Vermont […]

Update on Heating Greenhouses with Biomass

This project demonstrated the use of biomass heating for greenhouse vegetable production at sites across Vermont. From 2008 through 2015, 25 growers received cost-share funds for greenhouse biomass heating systems.

Calculating Greenhouse and High Tunnel Heat Loss

I am often asked by growers to help estimate what size heater is needed for a greenhouse or what minimum temperature their high tunnel will reach at a certain outside temperature.  Below are some tools to help you do this yourself.  I have presented them in a range of complexity depending on how much you […]

LED Lights – Status, Cost/Benefit and Pro’s and Cons

I have been receiving several inquiries recently on supplemental lighting for greenhouse production. The most common question is “Should I install LED lights to support growing?” I have found one report to be the most complete and current on this topic and wanted to share it here. Economic Analysis of Greenhouse Lighting: Light Emitting Diodes […]

Simple DIY Outside Air Exchange

In colder climates winter storage crops have been stored in passive root cellars for centuries, striking the balance between outside conditions and storage conditions. Although modern refrigeration systems are generally used for large scale, longer-term storage of these crops some enterprises seek lower cost and high energy efficiency options. Outside air exchange systems use an […]

Solar Hot Water Heating in Vermont Greenhouses

Biomass Heating in Vermont Greenhouses