Four of West Michigan's leading greenhouse firms will be visited on the Greenhouse Bus Tour. This is a first-time event at the 2010 Great Lakes Expo. The tour will take place on Thursday, December 9, 2010, departing the convention site at 8:30 a.m. and returning around 3:00 p.m. This will be a great opportunity to see and learn about new possibilities for your greenhouse.
Join other greenhouse growers on this tour to see energy-efficient, mechanized operations that grow high-quality plants for the market place. The photos to the right will give you an idea of what you will see on the tour. Greenhouses that will be visited include:
- Dewinter's Western Sky Range in Hudsonville
- Bosgraaf Greenhouse in Hudsonville
- Micandy Gardens in Hudsonville
- Henry Mast Greenhouses in Byron Center
The cost of the tour is $79.00 per person. This includes transportation to the greenhouses stops, lunch, and refreshments. A minimum of 20 participants will be needed for this event to occur. The networking opportunities for this type of event are significant.
Registration is limited! Register online; for additional information about the tour, please call Thomas Dudek, MSU Extension- Ottawa County at: (616) 994-4580.
Specific information about each greenhouse tour site:
DeWinter's Inc. has been in the greenhouse business for over 50 years. They have two locations totaling nearly 10 acres of growing space. DeWinter's grows bedding plants, hanging baskets, assorted potted annuals, fall mums, and perennials. The original location in Grandville, Michigan has 160,000 square feet and is a germination, propagation and growing facility. All products are shipped to the Hudsonville location.
In the 1980's, Mike and Deb DeWinter purchased 50 acres in Hudsonville for expansion. The "Western Sky Range" is now 265,000 square feet and is a growing and shipping facility. Within this facility you will find Dutch glass and poly greenhouses, automatic inflated roll-up walls, Echo watering systems, moveable 26 feet trolley platforms, an 11 bay shipping area, watering booms, dual transplanting lines with overhead radiant heat, and a new Bouldin Lawson bale buster for 135 cubic ft. towers with a Case elevator. With shipping ease in mind, this facility was designed to connect all greenhouses in a large loop.
Bosgraaf Greenhouses, Inc. started in 1955 by Bert and Gladys Bosgraaf. Through the years, a large variety of plants has been grown from bedding plants to cut flowers, and azaleas to other potted flowering plants and foliage. The present owners, Bob and Edie Van Sprange, purchased the business from Edie's parents in 1978, and have made the propagation of plant material the main focus. The Dahlietta, Gallery, Melody, Karma, happy Single, and dark Angel Dahlia series are shipped as cuttings throughout the United States and Canada. Sunny Cities Hibiscus has become a very important part of the cutting production in the last ten years. Bosgraaf Greenhouses, Inc. is fortunate to have the third generation of family, with Joe and Jaime Van Sprange, and Kate Van Sprange, involved and committed to producing outstanding propagated cuttings of dahlias and hibiscus.
Bosgraaf Greenhouses, Inc. rebuilt and expanded in 1981 and 1985. In 1985, a complete wide span, tempered glass greenhouse was purchased in the Netherlands and shipped to Michigan. It included a double heat-shade curtain system, hot water boilers, computerized burners and a waste flue heat condenser. In addition, it has a separate area for root zone propagation and another area for stock plants or finished plants with ebb and flow bench watering.
Four additional glass ranges were built in 1992, 1995, 1998, and 2002. Each range was built with a specific plant in mind for propagation and stock management. Ebb and flow bench watering continues to be used exclusively to irrigate plants. These areas are heated with hot water from very efficient low-mass boilers in two separate boiler rooms. High intensity lights are used throughout the facilities for supplemental and photoperiodic lighting.
Micandy Gardens is a family- owned and operated wholesale greenhouse business that is spread out over 11 acres in Hudsonville, Michigan. Micandy specializes in the propagation of annuals by plugs and rooted cuttings, which are sold to other growers. They also sell their finished products through major chains and offer a wide variety of spring products, such as eye-catching hanging baskets and planters with the most creative combinations of flowers. Micany Gardens continually strives to improve customer's satisfaction through constant attention to high quality, timely delivery standards, while remaining competitive in the market place.
Innovations you will see on this tour stop include:
• A monorail system that moves plants throughout the entire range
• High-pressure sodium supplemental lighting in the propagation range that enhances plug germination and rooting of cuttings
• A soil handling and transplant conveyor line system has been a labor-saving innovation
They have also taken the lead in energy efficiency by installing a number of new 93% high efficiency unit heaters and by switching from metal halide to high efficiency fluorescent work lighting throughout the range.
Henry Mast Greenhouse
Henry Mast Greenhouses is a 20+ acre wholesale greenhouse business located in Byron Center, Michigan. The business began in the mid 1950's and moved to its present location in the mid 1960's. They supply potted annuals and indoor flowering plants to several major mid-west retail chain store accounts across an eight to nine state area. All the shipping is done through their sister business Masterpiece Flower Company also located in Byron Center.
Tour participants will see greenhouse structures ranging from quonsets to large gutter-connected ranges with coverings from double poly to curved glass. The facilities have flood floors, heat curtains, and the latest in vegetative propagation methods. Also, nine coolers on-site house bulb crop production for Valentine's Day and Easter sales. They employ 200 workers at peak, which includes 120 full-time employees.
Other 2011 Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo, December 6 to 8 pages: