Eatmore Sprouts has opened a new greenhouse. During the winter months, we needed to increase our capacity to fill all the orders received. To keep up with demand, a third greenhouse has been built, and opened December 2013.
It grows sunflower sprouts, pea shoots, and microgreens. These greenhouse crops are grown in soil, unlike the indoor crops (alfalfa, deli, garlic, broccoli, clover, and mixed bean sprouts), which are grown indoors in water. The soil used is made here on the farm by composting cut green root mats and sprout waste.
The greenhouse was built with the intention of increasing production while being as efficient and environmentally responsible as possible. As you can see in the pictures, the beds are elevated on cement rammed earth beds. These beds are filled with subsoil that came out of the hole made to build the greenhouse. The topsoil was taken to the garden. Nothing is actually grown in the subsoil, it is used to keep the beds warm.
Within the sub soil are water pipes. Hot water comes from the garn (a giant fire that heats the facility) and through the pipes. This evenly heats the beds, and keeps the sprouts warm in the winter. The floors are also heated with hot water from the garn. The beds are toasty at approx. 22 degrees Celsius. Bed temperatures are impacted slightly by outdoor temperatures.
Heating the greenhouses takes a tremendous amount of energy in the winter. In the past year, we have made a change from natural gas heating, to heating with wood. Wood is carbon neutral, it is “this generation’s carbon” as Glenn puts it, meaning that the carbon can be recaptured by growing a new tree, whereas the carbon released from burning fossil fuels such as natural gas cannot be reclaimed in this generation. The wood is purchased from a neighbouring farm, which also helps support them through the winter season.
The new greenhouse is an improvement on the design used to build the previous greenhouses. It is made out of long lasting, stable materials. Cement and soil were used, no wood. It evenly heats the beds, and is well insulated to keep the sprouts growing even in the short, cold, winter days. The depth of the subsoil stabilizes the temperature of the beds.
We are happy to say that the new greenhouse is up and running now to provide you with sunflower sprouts, pea shoots, and microgreens year-round for many years to come.