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Recent Postings, A Difficult Time at the Greenhouse

December 21, 2012

We have more plants flowering this Winter Break that usual, as you will see from postings below. It’s a bit of an irony, as it is an unintended consequence of our gas line being crushed 3 months ago due to the growth of a poorly placed, but wonderful tree: Agathis robusta -still quite a youngster- but already pushing in one wall of our Headhouse. No repair is slated, so we are using the lights to help with the heat, keeping them on 24 hours and this is encouraging the extra flowering. Some money from FOTGH was used to put up an electric space heater. We figured out how to link to the environmental controls, but the heater is inadequate on its own… The purchase of another heater for the workspace should follow.

All the motors for our cooling system vents have long since died and must be opened and closed manually. I was told new ones were in hand 6 years ago and have never yet seen them! I can’t get new ones installed through an outside service because any service that operates on campus has to have 6 million dollars in liability insurance! A bit much for one $500 job.

In one of the storage closets there has been a large, nonfunctional water heater for many years. As anyone who has visited could tell you, we need every bit of storage, so we asked for its removal, but this was not provided… until a volunteer turned up to help. Unfortunately, we discovered that the drain line for our sinks is open in that storage space floor and due to the weekly washing of recycled pots, the line is blocked and floods the room with sink use. A repair backlog is likely to be extended on this one.

Our doors are melting! Yes, against code, particle board doors were used in our GH and one door can no longer be opened, the other closed! We are looking into using plant sale money to replace the doors, as SFSU will not, but metal doors are expensive.

Our wood benching outdoors was recycled from the old rooftop greenhouse built in the 60’s and is collapsing around us. I have brought in some plastic benching from home and have used FOTGH funds to buy new, recycled plastic bench tops, but it is a big job to get these in place and save money by making our own legs. A lot of volunteer help will be needed with the re-benching project. This could happen later in Jan., or as soon as I can get a group of 3 or 4 people involved. If you are interested, contact me now!

And despite all these failings in our Science Building Greenhouse (which the powers that be disparage as “old”) it still provides a far superior growing environment than that of our New Greenhouse!

We always have plant losses over the break because there is no funding for student employment during that period, nor during the summers, and a collection as diverse and complex as we currently have cannot be fully automated. There is no backup should I get sick or take a vacation…

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