Light deprivation has become a popular growing technique used by many greenhouse horticulturists. Light deprivation, also known as “light dep”, is an agricultural growing technique that uses shade cloth or black out material to control how much light the plants receive and also how often the plants receive the light. The darkness created by the blackout material “tricks” the plants into responding to the changes in the photoperiod. By using a light deprivation technique and, therefore, having complete control over the photoperiod, a horticulturist can mimic seasonal changes. For example, a grower with a light deprivation greenhouse could initiate fruiting or flowering in the plants long before the plants would naturally go through this process. Light deprivation allows horticulturists to reduce the time it takes a crop to reach maturity and this equates to multiple harvests per year (compared with one harvest per year when relying solely on Mother Nature). One company has propelled itself ahead of the rest as the leader of light deprivation. That company is Forever Flowering Greenhouses, or FFG.
Forever Flowering Greenhouses, founded in 2006 by Jonathan Valdman, is a leader in both light deprivation products and techniques. Since its inception, FFG has focused on sustainability and the reduction of horticulturist’s carbon footprints. It supplies only the highest quality products that are designed to lower a grower’s monthly overhead costs, while ensuring large yields of flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Perhaps most importantly, Forever Flowering Greenhouses is a company founded on experience. This is a company started by farmers to best serve other farmers. Two decades worth of experience in the fields spawned the product ideas that would benefit others. Each growing season provided a deeper understanding of the plants, the plant’s needs, and the techniques that worked best.
All in all, experience is what allowed Forever Flowering Greenhouses to create a growing environment that requires less daily input and reduces the overall margin of error. As experienced light deprivation growers, the folks at FFG came to understand the ins-and-outs of light deprivation and how to create greenhouses that best served the needs of light deprivation growers. It’s not just the growers at FFG that have experience in their field. Forever Flowering Greenhouses’ engineering department is backed by over 40 years of experience. FFG offers multiple professional grade greenhouses, all of which meet strict NGMA greenhouse standards. The latest line of pre-fabricated greenhouses, known as the Licensed Producer (LP) Greenhouses, sets the bar even higher by creating one of the greatest light deprivation greenhouse setups of all time.
The Licensed Producer Greenhouse is the direct result of decades of cultivation experience and knowledge combined to maximize productivity, increase efficiency, and streamline workflow. Each LP is constructed of the highest quality materials (tubular galvanized steel) and is built for longevity, effectiveness, and reliability. The LP Greenhouse is separated into multiple growing sections for flowering and vegetative growth. In fact, the LP has a 3:1 ratio of space for flowering and vegetative growth, respectively. There is also a central corridor which separates the vegetative and flowering sections. This central corridor is ideal for equipment operation and for clean and secure movement of plant material. If desired, the entire structure can be set up as flowering only, which means the horticulturist would need a separate vegetative structure/area.
The Licensed Producer Greenhouse is available in five different widths: 18’, 24’, 30’, 36’, and 42’. The 12’ on-center columns and truss spacing allow more light into the greenhouse and give more freedom of movement within the structure. One of the biggest advantages of building a Licensed Producer Greenhouse is its 80% reduction in concrete costs (compared with other leading greenhouse designs). The reduction in concrete costs comes from the LP’s design, which only calls for concrete under the footings and central corridor, instead of floating a concrete slab under the entire structure. The LP Greenhouse comes with a 6:12 pitched roof and specialized condensation control with the structure’s unique condensation controlling purlins and air circulation. In fact, the LP is considered a “dry house” due to its built-in condensation controls. Built to last, the four inch square sidewall columns and knee braces provide ample protection against strong winds. The pitched roof easily sheds snow to decrease heavy snow loads. A LP Greenhouse can also be custom engineered for ultra-high snow and wind loads.
When combined with the optional ground cover, rolling benches, bench heat, supplemental lighting, and dehumidification, the Licensed Producer Greenhouse is the ideal structure for year-round production. The LP utilizes passive cooling through its side and double ridge vents. This greenhouse is also ideal for commercial applications with gutter-connected options. Although the standard eave height is 14’, optional gutter heights (10’ and 12’) are available upon request; however, they may require custom engineering. Another unique option of the LP Greenhouse is that a section of the frame can be glazed with sheet metal and insulated for use as an office or warehouse space. For example, instead of using a section as a vegetative area, the section could be turned into an office space that is directly connected to the growing space. This creates a more fluid and secure work environment. The Licensed Producer Greenhouse is low angle, making it ideal for winter lighting. The polycarbonate glazing makes the LP a more secure structure than many of the other greenhouses on the market. All LP Greenhouses meet NGMA engineering standards. The LP is also available with Forever Flowering Greenhouses Auto Flowering automated light deprivation kit with manual override.
Before purchasing any greenhouse, it is a good idea for the grower to research his or her local codes to make sure the structure will be approved. Greenhouses can be purchased from FFG as “non-code” or “code” structures. “Non-code” greenhouses purchased from Forever Flowering Greenhouses are still engineered and built to NGMA standards, but do not carry the engineer’s “wet stamp”. In some states and counties where the job site is zoned as Agricultural Land, certain exemptions can be made for building permits and, in some cases, the buildings do not require a “wet stamp”. In other situations, structures that are “code” structures are stamped and prepared specifically for the state and county in which they will be built.
At Forever Flowering Greenhouses, once the greenhouse engineering process is complete, the plans are sent to the customer or general contractor for permit application. FFG supplies the information needed to apply for the permit, but does not actually apply for or take care of the permit process. Once the permit is granted, the greenhouse order can be placed.
On average, it takes roughly 4-6 weeks (depending on the particular state) to complete the engineering process. If a “code structure” is a requirement, engineering should be the first step a customer or general contractor takes. Completing the engineering process before purchasing could save the customer thousands of dollars, not to mention a lot of time and energy. The engineering process will help the consumer determine if any additional materials are needed to make the greenhouse up to code and/or if there are any changes that may affect the original estimate. All in all, getting the engineering process done first will let the consumer and/or general contractor know exactly what will be needed and will provide a better estimate of the total cost of the project.
There is a reason Forever Flowering Greenhouses is a leader in light deprivation products and techniques: years of experience. Its experience combined with a desire to bring innovative light deprivation products to the market and allow other horticulturists to obtain all the benefits light deprivation has to offer are what make Forever Flowering Greenhouses the ultimate resource for all things light deprivation related. Its products include not only greenhouses, but also specialty light deprivation fabrics, breathable walls (light tight air exchanger), and commercial dehumidifiers. FFG also offers custom engineering and consulting. With a focus on sustainability and lessening a grower’s carbon footprint, Forever Flowering Greenhouses has grouped together the highest efficiency light deprivation greenhouse products that are all designed to maximize a horticulturist’s return on investment. The latest creation, the Licensed Producer Greenhouse, is another shining example of how Forever Flowering Greenhouses has earned its place at the top of the light deprivation sector of horticulture.