Integrated Pest & Disease Management
- We scout for pest problems rather than engaging in a regular preventative treatment program.
When situations do call for pesticides, we use more gentle pesticide options first to treat the problem. For environmental reasons as well as to ensure our employees are not over exposed.
We rotate our chemicals to minimize resistance.
We rotate our spray crews to minimize exposure to our employees.
- Plastic Sheeting Over Wood Benches – We cover all of our wood benches with sheets of plastic allowing us to keep them clean of pathogens and the plants more healthy. By doing this, we do not need to treat our wood benches with toxic chemicals and we reduce plant contamination by pathogens, thus reducing our need for fungicides.
- Side Walk Cleaning – We regularly clean our concrete walkways using a pressure sprayer to decrease algae, ensuring a safer workplace as well as reducing habitat for vectors spreading plant pathogens.
Resource Conservation and Energy Efficiency – Water Resource Management
- Irrigation Emitters – Our hanging plants are watered using low flow emitters on split watering cycles. The first water cycle moistens the soil, the second water cycle yields ample water to the plant. This helps to decrease runoff and our water consumption.
- Reclaimed Water – At our Olive Hill location we use reclaimed sewage water to irrigate our foliage plants.
- Fertility – We regularly check pH and fertilizer levels.
- Irrigation Scheduling – We change our water schedule seasonally reducing our water consumption in the winter when plants demand less water.
- Water Run Off Management – We have mechanisms in place to reduce erosion – concrete drainage under rain gutters and water flow “speed bumps”. Water run off is sent to collection ponds where it can be used to water the surrounding landscape.
Resource Conservation and Energy Efficiency – Energy Resource Management
- Energy Curtains – Have decreased our Natural Gas consumption by 35%. At night, they reduce heat loss enabling us to run our heaters less. During the day, we are able to optimize light levels by opening the curtains early morning and late afternoon and by only closing curtains to block the midday sun. They regulate light levels more effectively than whitewash. By not using white wash, we increase the lifespan on our double poly roofs (decreasing our waste) and we do not pollute our storm water run-off with paint.
- Greenhouse Side Wall Insulation – Our greenhouses’ walls are insulated with Styrofoam or fiberglass (R10 value) reducing heat loss through the walls at night and heat gain during the day.
- Unvented Heaters – By-products of burning natural gas remain in the greenhouse where they can be absorbed/sequestered by the plants, reducing our carbon emissions into the atmosphere and helping the plants grow more vigorously.
- Environmental Computers – Help us better maintain our greenhouse conditions. The computer polls the greenhouse environment and outside temperatures frequently and is able to run heaters, cooling pads, cooling fans, vents and curtains to maintain proper conditions. By using computers instead of greenhouse thermostats, we are able to maintain tighter control of temperatures and avoid over heating or cooling our greenhouses.
- Regular Greenhouse Maintenance – We have a regular maintenance schedule for our heaters, fans, cooling pads, and pumps to ensure that they are working properly and as efficiently as possible.
Resource Conservation and Energy Efficiency – Energy Resource Management (Transportation)
- Electric Golf Carts – We use electric golf carts to move our plants within greenhouses and to our docks.
- Specialized Carts – Enable us to move plants more efficiently within our greenhouses. We are able to restock tables and lines of hanging plants, pull orders, harvest cuttings more efficiently. Soil carts enable us to plant adjacent to the plant’s growing table.
- Tracking Trailers – Enable us to move plants between greenhouses and between our docks. We send full trucks between our locations.
- Deliveries – We deliver on specific days and have order minimums to maximize our efficiency when delivering throughout Southern California.
Integrated Waste Management
- Management of Agrochemicals – We properly store our chemicals to prevent runoff contamination. We properly dispose & recycle chemicals and their containers. Clean up kits are accessible to quickly address any spills.
- Recycling – We sanitize and reuse our grow pots and flats. Broken pots, flats, and crushed cell trays are recycled. Cardboard boxes from incoming shipments are recycled.
- Composting – Green waste is composted and used on the surrounding landscape.
Fair Labor Practices
- Pay over minimum wage
- Provide anniversary pay, sick leave, health insurance
- Field Worker Training (at hire date)
- Monthly tailgate meetings to help ensure a safe workplace
Olive Hill Greenhouses is committed to striving to keep quality and service our highest priority.
- Plants are held until they have achieved our standards for quality – we pay attention to planting dates and hanging dates to ensure proper root development.
- Foliage is grown clean by treating our water and by using a minimum amount of pesticides to minimize leaf residue spots.
- Our workforce knows our quality expectations and carefully selects plants – leaving any small underdeveloped plants and scouting for any pests or disease.
- Plants are groomed to ready them for shipment, sleeved and bundled, and moved to their final staging destination so they may be boxed or ready for loading.
- Plants are sleeved the day before shipment to ensure freshness.