There are currently three sale greenhouses and five production greenhouses at The Berry Farm. All of the greenhouses are passive solar; obtaining solar radiation in visible light, heat etc. which aids plant growth. Each greenhouse is unique! One of the greenhouses (pictured at left) is set four feet within the ground making it passive geothermal, providing the structure with additional heat. Both raised and ground level beds are used in crop production. Two of the greenhouses have raised beds that increase the heat of the soil (due to added insulation). Three of the five production structures are "cool" greenhouses and are heated to a maximum of 35 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. A back-up propane system provides any additional heat to some of the greenhouses.
The summer of 2012 was a season of greenhouse construction! Two new greenhouses were constructed and the modification to a pre-existing structure was transformed into an herb sale greenhouse. These additional greenhouses have increased crop yield and have provided much needed growing space for all year production.
Going Green at The Berry Farm
In October 2011, Hudson Solar, located in Rhinebeck, NY installed a 150 photovoltaic pole-mounted panel system at The Berry Farm. The system provides greater energy independence for the farm store by providing adequate energy availability for electricity, refrigeration and heating usage. In March 2012, The Radiant Store Inc., located in Troy, NY installed a thermal solar hot water panel system. The system optimizes solar radiation and transfers the collected energy into a heated liquid which is then utilized by four of the five production greenhouses.
Other notable green initiatives implemented at The Berry Farm:
Drip (trickle) irrigation: This form of irrigation allows for minimum water waste by providing controlled water distribution through a series of tubing laid adjacent to the plants or crops.
Low water pressure misting systems: A form of irrigation that reduces water waste by using lower water pressure sprinklers that provide a fine misting of water.
Low tunnels: Metal or plastic hoop frames covered in Reemay or sheets of plastic that provide additional heat to crops; at The Berry Farm, we use these inside of our "cool" greenhouses, they act as a greenhouse within another greenhouse.
Recycling: Separation and proper disposal of plastics, paper and cardboard.
Composting: Collecting decomposable materials, such as organic matter from the farm store and leaves from the fields to create our soil used in the greenhouse beds and soil blocks.
Soil blocks: The combination of our compost and other organic materials molded into blocks used for planting seed. Reduces root stress during transplanting.