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High-Tech Build Adds Growing Space

Just two years ago, we described a 76,000 sq.-ft. greenhouse Four Star completed to add room for growing more Proven Winners® shrubs and perennials.

Since then, increased demand for Proven Winners shrubs and perennials has encouraged us to expand again, and we can show you the new five-acre greenhouse (200,000+ sq. ft.) that recently went online. It is dedicated to growing even more Proven Winners shrubs and perennials, as well as some annuals.   This brings the total to eight new acres of growing space added in the last three years to keep up with the demand.

The new 5-acre greenhouse is used for growing more Proven Winners® shrubs and perennials to meet demand.
The new 5-acre greenhouse is used for growing more Proven Winners® shrubs and perennials to meet demand.

According to Dan Foster, Site Manager and Product Line Manager, this new addition adds another 40% of growing space to the Sigler Road facility and has some real cutting-edge technology in it. “We opened it in mid-December and it is the biggest new build we’ve ever done,” he says.  “It’s already filled with shrubs and perennials.”

3 Innovations for efficiency

The new greenhouse is a Westbrook apex open-roof style that facilitates growing shrubs cool.  We believe that indoor growing allows us to control the environment and grow healthier plants.  Eventually, some hanging baskets of annuals will join the shrubs and perennials in the greenhouse as they are moved in to finish off.  

Open roof design of the new growing space is ideal for shrubs and perennials, as well as finishing hanging baskets.
Open roof design of the new growing space is ideal for shrubs and perennials, as well as finishing hanging baskets.

1. The first innovation in the new house is an ErfGoed Floor system from The Netherlands, which is an ebb and flow system using a permeable crushed granite material that allows for quick draining and disease resistance.  “While this system is common in The Netherlands, this is one of the first installations like it in the United States,” Foster says.

2. Four Star also chose to use another technology in the house — Cherry Creek System’s Navigator Booms.  These travelling platforms save growing aisle space and move across a range, programmed to stop and water two rows of plants individually before moving to the next two rows.  Workers can walk on the platform as it goes through the range.

Installation of the new Navigator Booms that individually water large containers.
Workers install a portable work platform in the new greenhouse.

3. The third new innovation used in the greenhouse is Agronomix’s Flying Fork, a transport tool that can pick up and move between 32 and 91 large pots at a time, depending on its configuration. This multiple-tined equipment uses a boom track with hydraulic controls so that one operator can easily walk plants to a crop maintenance station, then put them all back together. “This may be the only one of its kind in the United States,” Foster adds.

These innovations, along with the expanded space, are helping Four Star continue to increase production in coming years.  “With this new build,” says Foster, “We now have a total of about 28 acres of growing space, with about 24 of them under cover.”


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