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Micro Paradox Acquires Greenhouse System Designed and Installed by ATI

Randhawa Ventures getting started

Always on the cutting-edge of the commercial greenhouse industry, Agra Tech of Pittsburg, CA and Micro Paradox of Pleasant Grove, CA worked in close conjunction to create a commercial greenhouse system that is unique and unprecedented.

Micro Paradox provides high-quality clonal rootstock to orchard owners and nursery growers, consisting of clonal rootstocks for walnuts, cherries, pistachios and almonds. In addition to providing rootstock, the company can also do custom projects by providing customers with specific types of clonal rootstalks.

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Dr. Parm Randhawa

With over 20 years of experience in the seed health industry through CSP Labs, Micro Paradox was founded by Dr. Parm Randhawa in 2010 to provide high superior rootstock to growers worldwide. In addition, he is also the founder and owner of California Seed and Plant Lab, Inc. (CSP Labs), a company that performs seed health testing for the vegetable seed industry. The company was incorporated in 1998 and expanded its services to include seed germination, seed purity, disease diagnosis, resistance screening, hybrid purity, variety fingerprinting and Non-GMO testing.

CSP Labs is located on-site in a separate facility from Micro Paradox but located on the same property. “This close proximity enables us to conduct high quality testing of our products,” Randhawa said. “It’s convenient and useful, because it saves us time and allows us to work without interruption.”

A clonal rootstock is a vegetatively propagated (cloned) rootstock. Rather than using germinated seedling rootstock, nursery owners and growers can carefully select a clonal rootstock of their choice. This clonal rootstock, in turn, can be “budded” to a variety of the grower’s choice, according to www.microparadox.com.

Clonal rootstocks from Micro Paradox are superior over seedling rootstocks, because the latter suffer from genetic variability in that one seedling is different from the other seedling and their perforwalnutProductmance is unreliable. An orchard produced from seedlings may not be productive as some seedlings may lead to inferior trees, Randhawa explained.

“Clonal plants from high-quality trees are genetically alike and therefore perform similar to such characters as vigor, uniformity, budding compatibility, disease resistance and yield,” rootstockPicRandhawa said. “Clones are generally well studied and their characteristics documented by multi-year research before their release to the growers. For example, our walnut clone VX 211 is resistant to nematodes and this resistance lasts for the life time of the tree planted in soils containing nematodes.”

Micro Paradox is well-known for producing some of the best clonal rootstocks in the world. “Several companies can clone walnuts but a very few are good at it,” Parm said. “We are good at it and our reputation lies in “trees with good roots”. Our trees have roots that are at 45 degree from stem, multiple and air pruned to provide an edge when planted in a nursery row or in the orchard.”

“Our process is simple to produce high quality trees,” Randhawa said. “By establishing a contamination-free clone in tissue culture in the lab and increasing cloning in the lab to generate large number of very healthy cuttings, we then root them in the laboratory to a well-rooted plug. Once we’ve established the plug to a well-rooted plant in the greenhouse, we let it grow to a specific size. Then, it’s ready for sale.”

Randhawa was already familiar with Agra Tech, because they had acquired several commercial greenhouses from the company for CSP Labs, but this project for Micro Paradox was a completely different project with different specs and a lot of design required. “This was a truly groundbreaking project and we knew that a lot of the work would have to be custom,” Randhawa said. “By working closely with all of the people at Agra Tech, including John Pound, Ray Pound and Anita Pound and our sales rep, Jim Bergantz, we were able to get this greenhouse and all of its systems up and running by February of this year.”

2015-08 Randhawa 21By designing and building an Agra Tech  Sawtooth framework greenhouse featuring seven separate rooms for different stages of growing, it includes 7 energy curtain systems; connecting doors to each chamber; heating and cooling systems. It also includes a mobile tray system with six transfer carts and a complete railing system to move the trays throughout the entire greenhouse; a Biotherm under bench heating system: a True Leaf Fog system in each of the seven rooms and seven separate center water drip water brooms. It’s a huge project, but after it was completely designed, it took less than six months to make it 100% operable.

Everyone at Micro Paradox is thrilled by the results of their new system and relieved that it went so well. “The customer service provided by Agra Tech has always been exceptional and on this project they really did a spectacular job,” Parm said. “They did their research and came up with solutions that were designed specifically for us. We asked them a ton of questions and they answered all of them promptly and accurately.

“The greenhouse was built by Ag-Con and Ray Pound made it a seamless process, he said. “Every time we needed something–they were right there. It took about six months to get everything up-and-running and today we’re happy to say that our greenhouse is half full already. When we reach our goals, it will be more like three quarters full, which will be full capacity, because, of course, we will always have root stalks being shipped out to our customers.”

Randhawa AgCon Construction

Ag-con Construction

Ed

by Ed Attanasio

 

 

Hayes Wholesale Nurseries in New Zealand Uses Agra Tech’s Agra Benches

bench 003With customers worldwide, Agra Tech in Pittsburg, CA has greenhouses and ancillary products in countries all over the world and in this case, New Zealand is the setting for this story. Hayes Wholesale Nurseries is the New Zealand’s largest wholesale growers and suppliers of Pac geraniums, fuchsias and Pac Pelargoniums and sells to local garden centers as well as national chains throughout the country.

Based in Makarewa, a small community north of Invercargill (the southernmost city in the South Island of New Zealand), Hayes Wholesale Nurseries is owned and operated by Barry Hayes. He has the industry in his blood, because he learned how to be a nurseryman first hand in his parents’ garden center starting as a teenager back in the 1980s. He is now a veteran of the greenhouse growing industry with 30 years under his belt, and he wouldn’t change the life for anything else, he explained.

“Helping things to grow and creating a quality product is satisfying,” Hayes said. “We are specialist producers and the biggest growers of geraniums and fuchsias in New Zealand. All of the flowers we produce here are the best in New Zealand and people know that, so they look for our products in their garden centers and retail locations.”

Growing 300,000 flowers annually is a huge operation and that’s why Hayes needs three 1,000 square meter greenhouses (although they do call them “glasshouses” in New Zealand) and three separate propagating houses. The nursery grows flowers year round, but 80% of them are sold during their peak season, which runs from August through January, Hayes explained, with the busiest months being August and September.

The nursery employs five full-time people and comes with a complete menagerie of animals as well. “We have two exotic cats here, my Bichon-Maltese-cross dog, Poodles, and right now I am also taking care of a friend’s English bulldog. They’re our very own visitor welcoming committee.”

All of the plants grown at Hayes Wholesale Nursery are produced from cuttings. To meet the demand, they import cuttings from Germany every year. Once they arrive, the imported cuttings are kept in the nursery’s quarantine facility for three to four months until Ministry of Primary Industries’ inspectors give them the thumbs up. At that point, the cuttings are re-potted until they become well-established and then they’re shipped out to customers.

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Agra Tech Ebb and FLow Bench

Back in 2007, Hayes started purchasing rolling benches from Agra Tech, as part of their Agra Bench line of Mobil Trays, Rolling Benches, Stationary Benches, Ebb & Flow Benches, Caster Benches and T-Rail Benches. The nursery was interested in Agra Tech’s benches for their convenience and saw instantly that they could help their production.

“We use their Rolling Benches, because they make our lives here so much easier,” Hayes said. “By using these benches, we can grow more plants per square meter. Also, these types of plants require ongoing maintenance, which means we need a way to easily access each plant on a regular basis. The Rolling Benches enable our workers to do their jobs without spending a lot of time moving plants around.”

Hayes also uses Agra Tech’s Ebb & Flow Benches for several reasons. “We flood the trays with water and fertilizer and that way we’re able to reclaim all of it,” he said. “It cuts down on the cost of water and fertilizer, because the excess drains off and we re-use them. So, by using these benches, we’re able to be a greener operation while saving a substantial amount of time, water and money.”

Over the years of working with Agra Tech, Hayes has developed a solid relationship with the company. “Eloise and John Pound, the owners of Agra Tech have been here at least two times, looking at our operation and helping us to find good solutions. The Pound family has a ton of experience in this industry and their knowledge is invaluable to anyone growing crops in a glasshouse. We’ve received three large shipments of Agra Tech’s Benches and as we continue to grow, I am sure we will likely need more.”

Written by Ed Attanasio

Visit with Hayes Ebb & Flow bench

John Pound Visits Hayes Wholesale Nursery in New Zealand

Orchids Bloom for a Happy Retiree

North Slope greenhouse

Bart Ingles in front of his North Slope greenhouse

Orchids in North Slope greenouse

Orchids in the Controlled Environment of Bart’s North Slope greenhouse

After 30 years as a fire fighter in Hayward, CA, Bart Ingles, 82, retired at age 55 and moved to the rural country of Patterson, CA in Stanislaus County. He bought a little piece of land to retreat from the madness of the Bay Area, not knowing that he would eventually pursue a passion he did not know he had—growing orchids and getting them to bloom for others who were unable to do so.It all started one day a few years ago when his wife Marion Potter received an orchid as a gift, Bart explained. “We used to have orchids in the house and they would bloom once and then they’d sit around for a while. They would eventually die and that would be that. So, I took this one orchid and I tried to see if I could get it to bloom continually and I succeeded. After that, I kept trying to do it with other types of orchids and had success with them as well.”

After that, Ingles became what he describes as a “hobbyist grower” of orchids and took the necessary steps to grow a larger quantity of these amazing flowers, with 25,000 species that grow naturally all over the world and are a favorite plant among horticulturists. “I bought a little greenhouse and decided to grow more orchids. Then I joined the Tropical Plant Society of Modesto, CA and started to meet other orchid growers. By sharing information and our experiences, I learned how to grow better orchids.”

The Tropical Plant Society of Modesto meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Stanislaus Elementary. It regularly hears from guest speakers – among them American Orchid Society judges – and has a show-and-tell table of blooming orchids and tropical plants.

As Ingles got more and more into growing orchids, his operation grew as fast as the plants could. He eventually hooked two greenhouses together, but pretty soon people were telling him he needed a larger facility. So, through his son-in-law, Mark Woods, the owner of Woods Transplants in Gustine, CA a farm consisting of 28 acres containing 54 greenhouses and totaling 400,000 square feet of greenhouse space, was able to get a 30’ x 24’ commercial greenhouse from Agra Tech, the world’s leading manufacturer of greenhouses used all over the planet to grow literally every type of plant imaginable.

Presented to him as a gift from Mark Woods and his stepson John, Bart was obviously pleased and quickly became enamored with all of the great things he could now do with his Agra Tech greenhouse, known as their North Slope model. “We met with Jim Bergantz from Agra Tech and he suggested the best structure and systems for us,” Bart said. “The goal is to keep the humidity up and the temperatures down. Here in Patterson, we often have 100 degree temperatures, but to grow these orchids, we need to have it at around 80-82 degrees which we can achieve with the greenhouse. This Agra Tech greenhouse allows me to spread out my plants, so that they have room to grow. There is so much more air movement in this greenhouse and I can completely control the environment, so it’s ideal.”

Today, Ingles grows a wide range of orchids with long names such as Dendrobium, Epidendrum, Encyclia and Phalaenopsis, but he has also been able to grow more than just orchids in his Agra Tech greenhouse. “I actually have a papyrus tree in there and I also have a few pineapple trees and they’re doing great!”

His hobby has turned into a full-fledged operation, but it will always remain that way, according to Ingles. “People tell me you should start selling your orchids, but I have no interest in that. I give them to friends and sometimes people will bring me their ailing orchids to see if I can help them. A portion of this Agra Tech greenhouse has become an orchid hospital in a way and in many cases I can turn them around–thanks to this beautiful greenhouse from Agra Tech!”

Written by Ed Attanasio

Agra Tech bench

Agra Tech freestanding bench

Happy orchids

Happy orchids