Tag Archives: Solar Light

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.


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


by Ed Attanasio



Agra Tech and UC Davis Create Tall Greenhouse Research

Solar Light 50 research greenhouse

Solar Light 50 research greenhouse

With a 16-foot eave height greenhouse manufactured by Agra Tech, UC Davis is able to perform research and development on various types of crops. As a part of the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis in Davis, CA, the College of Agriculture and Environmental Services (CA&ES) maintains a total of 162 greenhouses, and one of their newest one is a custom-made 4,500 square-foot greenhouse made by Agra Tech.

Garry Pearson, CA&ES Lead Greenhouse Manager described the project and its main goal. “We call it the ‘Tall greenhouse’ project among ourselves, because basically it is a greenhouse where a wide variety of crops that can be grown.

Creating and controlling the ideal climate for the “Tall Greenhouse” was a tall order, Pearson said, but by working with Agra Tech, it was achieved. “Our goal was to create a greenhouse environment that has the same exact climate and conditions you’d find in the tropical zones of the world. We’re in a Mediterranean climate here in northern California, so we obviously need a greenhouse to control the marriage between the greenhouse, the climate and the plants.

“By working with Adam and Ray Pound at Agra Tech and Ag-Con Construction respectively, we now have a greenhouse that allows UC Davis to grow crops that are 24 feet tall in a microclimate that features high humidity, which is essential for the crops being studied. The Pounds at Agra Tech were able to meet our requirements in a very cost-effective way and they were involved in every aspect of the design and manufacturing of our ‘Tall Greenhouse.’ It’s a 4,500 square foot greenhouse and it’s working perfectly. It’s easy to work with Agra Tech, because they have a lot of experience and knowledge and they’re not afraid to take on new challenges as well.”

Written by Ed Attanasio

Inside Lean-to

Inside screened Lean-to

Solar Light 50 with insect exclusion

Solar Light 50 with insect exclusion lean-to



Agra Tech Greenhouse

Agra Tech Donates Solar Light Greenhouse to Sustainable Farm in Its Own Backyard

With a focus on reclaiming water, growing healthy food for schools and non-profit organizations, creating green jobs and reducing global warming in the Bay Area, the Coco San Sustainable Farms collaboration between the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District in Martinez, CA and AgLantis TM, a non-profit organization that has a triple bottom line – social, economic and environmental. A business model that provides healthy, fresh and sustainably produced local food and education for the community, this cutting-edge project is the first of its type in the entire country and a true groundbreaking enterprise in many ways.

With a 144’ X 42’ top-of-the-line Solar Light greenhouse donated by Agra Tech in Pittsburg, CA, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial greenhouses, the CoCo San Sustainable Farm will soon be growing produce on its 14.8 acres of public buffer land, using reclaimed, agricultural-grade water that would otherwise be discharged into the bay.

Carolyn Phinney is a retired UC Berkeley Ph.D. behavioral scientist, is the President of AgLantis and Executive Director of the CoCo San Sustainable Farm and the driving force behind this innovative project. She has already received an outstanding activist award for her work. “We’ll be growing fresh produce very soon using sustainable methods for local schools, the Contra Costa County Food Bank and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture boxes),” Phinney explained.“This year we will have a high-tech hydroponics greenhouse donated by Agra Tech, Inc, in operation, which will managed by our expert staff and volunteers.”

The farm will also be a school, according to Phinney. “One of our goals is to provide useful, hands-on science and engineering classes concerning soil science, water science, permaculture, sustainable organic agriculture, integrated-pest-management, low water use gardening and hydroponic greenhouse management. Every aspect of science touches a farm such as physics, soil science, hydrology, meteorology, and nutrition.  We are working with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a Teacher of the Year, the Community College Board, Diablo Valley and Los Medanos Community Colleges, JFKU and an expert who created internships for NASA to integrate the farm into school curricula.”

Food for local schools is a major priority for the CoCo San Sustainable Farm, Phinney said. “It costs about a dollar a day to feed a child a salad and most schools can’t afford that. The Contra Costa Food Bank cannot get a large supply of salad vegetables because they are highly perishable and only available locally from small backyard gardening. We will be providing low-cost sustainably grown produce for schools, the Contra Costa/Solano Food Bank and the community.”

Reclaiming water during one of California’s worst droughts of all time is a big deal and an integral part of the sustainability of its farm. Nearly 1 trillion gallons of reclaimed water are discharged into the greater San Francisco Bay waterways each year, according to the project’s web site salads4schools.org.  “UC Davis estimated the water shortfall in California’s Central Valley was 2.1 trillion gallons this past year and we dumped about half that much in the Bay Area alone,” Phinney said. “This water is high in nitrogen and phosphorus which is bad for the Bay, but great for agriculture, thereby providing us with free fertilizer. All it requires is one more treatment to make it ideal for agriculture, so why not take this water and use it to grow food, as opposed to letting it go into the Bay?” Furthermore, there are thousands of acres of public buffer land near the recycled water sources in this county alone, which can be used to grow produce and reduce nutritional poverty in our community.

Most people probably don’t realize that growing food contributes considerably to global warming, Phinney explained. “It makes up 25% of all global warming, because the state pumps water to farmers in the Central Valley using much electricity to do so. Then, we truck our produce to cities, using much gas to do so. The fertilizers that nonorganic farming uses also contribute to global warming. By using recycled water high in natural fertilizer and the public buffer land surrounding the water reclamation facilities and eating the produce locally, we’re nearly eliminated most of the carbon footprint of farming at the CoCo San Sustainable Farm.”

The farm will also be an incubator for green jobs, Phinney said. “We will partner with other local businesses to showcase their products and teach about jobs that are directly related to these industries. We’re in a great position to train people in high-tech organic agricultural methods in our new greenhouse, donated by Agra Tech, Inc., we can teach greenhouse growing as well, which is exciting. Hydroponics greenhouse growing can produce as much as 40 times the produce with 10% of the water. We believe hydroponics greenhouse growing right in the center of urban areas using recycled water and land nearby is the future of agriculture.”