As a nationwide vegetable bedding plant grower, the Bonnie Plants team knew just where to turn while planning an expansion of their Linwood, N.C. operation. The grower has enjoyed a relationship with Atlas Greenhouse for more than 15 years. This past October, Atlas Greenhouse completed construction of a six-bay, 28,080 square-foot Pro-Com series gutter connect that Bonnie Plants designated for tomato and pepper plants, and they couldn’t be more pleased.
“We know that Atlas is a dependable and reliable provider – and has reliable contractors in their operation, so we knew they would get in, get it done [right], and get out,” says Barry Culpepper, Projects Manager for Bonnie Plants.
The contractor on this project, John Nugent, who has years of experience building Atlas Greenhouses for their clients, was in frequent contact with Linwood’s onsite manager Steve Phelps during construction. Phelps says he benefited from the consultative process with Nugent along the way. He learned how to optimize this particular structure for the spring, when they will begin planting. “I was watching him do his job, and he explained to me what he was doing, and why he was doing it, and how he was doing it,” Phelps says, such as how to keep the turnbuckles on the gutters tight, for example.
A few of the biggest perks to this house provide economical advantages, Culpepper says, including the ventilation potential, the double-poly covering and the structure’s squared columns that provide a stronger foundation. These elements make for a cool house in the hot N.C. summers, easy cover replacement in case of damage, and an all-around sturdy structure with a better likelihood of standing up to natural disasters, like hurricanes. “This is the base structure-type house that we use around the country,” Culpepper says, adding that these houses can handle a 90-mph wind load.
Next year, the Bonnie Plants team will grow 25,000 to 30,000 tomato and pepper plants in the greenhouse, and with this structure, “I think we’ll have a better performance in the quality of the plants,” Phelps says.