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Coastal Community

Growing the Future at Van Wingerden Greenhouses

May 4, 2018

Up in the farthest reaches of northern Washington state lies the Canadian border and the quint town of Blaine. It’s also home to Van Wingerden Greenhouses, where some of the most innovative gardening ideas are being utilized and developed each day to bring healthy plants and hanging baskets to your nearby Coastal.

Tom Van Wingerden, sales manager, started working for the family business years ago. In that time, he’s learned the ins and outs of growing and the innovative ideas his dad brought with him from the Netherlands back in 1980.

“Our dad is still in charge,” Tom Van Wingerden said while examining another hanging basket before transportation. “He started the company. Today, there are four of his kids working here, including me. We have 13 in the family, so there will probably be a few more working here in the coming years.”

Tom’s dad isn’t the only Van Wingerden to revolutionize the greenhouse industry.

“There are over 100 Van Wingerden greenhouses spread across the U.S.,” Tom added. “Ours includes 13-acres of growing space.”

A Garden Center with it All

Within the Van Wingerden Greenhouses garden center, you’ll find the company’s young plant division, where seedlings are carefully nurtured by watering booms (more on that in a bit). Here you’ll also find Van Wingerden’s signature indoor and outdoor plants, including bedding varieties, hanging baskets, annuals, perennials, as well as ferns and mums.

Putting Green Back into Greenhouses

One of the innovations that Van Wingerden Greenhouses has implemented is the watering boom. It’s basically piping and sprayers that hang on tracks from the ceiling of a greenhouse. Those pipes then travel down the greenhouse to water, treat, and fertilize the plants automatically on a specific schedule.

“We can mist young seedlings every 20 minutes with our watering booms,” said Tom. “We can even manually fertilize on the spot. It’s great technology we can put into any greenhouse.”

Another of the company’s innovative, green-minded techniques is the use of flood irrigation ponds.

“We can pump three-inches of water through the floors to fertilize hundreds of plants at once. Then we can re-use that treated water again in a sustainable fashion.”

Because of the abundance of rain that falls in the region, Van Wingerden collects and utilizes that rainwater nine months of the year.

“We really only need to use ground water for less than three months,” Tom added. “We’re in a good spot for growing plants.”

Keeping Greenhouses Warm

Of course, plants need heat to grow. To ensure growth year-round, Van Wingerden teamed up with a local manure digester to utilize the heat the power plant creates.

“We pump the heat through our water lines,” Tom said. “It’s a wonderfully sustainable solution.”

Other cool technologies the Van Wingerden Greenhouses have implemented include the hanging basket carrousel that takes the hanging baskets you find at Coastal along a conveyer that takes plants along a path of watering, fertilization, and shipping. In addition, an automatic transplanter takes seedlings out of large trays and packs them into individual pots in mere seconds.

From Our Garden Center to Your Backyard

Every year, Van Wingerden Greenhouses produces about 50,000 hanging baskets along with untold plants and flowers. You’ll find a wide assortment of these at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal. Stop by today for all of your gardening needs, including starts, flowers, hoses, fertilizer, bags of soil, and plenty of people who know how to grow anything in your neck of the woods.