Greenhouse Future & Tech

GGS Bought A Helicopter Sticky


For our customers it won't come as a surprise that GGS is always striving to help our customers explore ways to make their businesses more profitable. Experimenting with new technology is one way that we help our customers.

Recently we decided to enter the exciting world of RC Drones.

Our mini Helicopter is capable of flying up to 1200 feet high, and supports a camera for taking quality aerial video and photographs. It has a range from the controls in excess of 2000 feet, is capable of a top speed of 40km/h and will return back to its launch point if signal is lost.

We quickly found that the footage taken from this setup was astounding.

What Drone Technology Could Mean for Growers:

  • Field crop producers are already seeing enormous efficiency gains from having drones scout the crops from the air, and report back with detailed footage of acreage in a fraction of the time it would take to check the crops from the ground. Precision agriculture like that reduces man hours, improves accuracy, enables checks to be performed more frequently, and is better for the environment
  • For greenhouse growers, a drone enables you to quickly and at a low cost take aerial pictures of your site for building permits
  • Record for posterity the changes in your property year after year as you grow and expand
  • For Garden Centers, drones could be used to check the stock in the back for customers in the front. And maybe even to pick up and deliver flowers
  • For applicants to the MMPR program a drone can save you the need to hire an airplane photographer for the aerial photographs of the site that are required as part of Health Canada’s regulations

Greenhouses often use available outdoor space to grow late summer and fall crops such as pot mums. These growing areas can often consist of multiple acres, a drone would be a quick way to check for:

  • Dry areas, crops can have a darker appearance and be stunted compared to the properly irrigated plants
  • Fertilizer issues – plants often appear lighter in colour
  • Pests and disease – once a plant is identified as stunted or off colour, fly down for a closer look; botrytis can be identified if it’s advanced enough, so can pest damage

Nothing replaces walking the crop and having a personal view but a drone can give quick images and direct you to obvious areas of concern, location info is made even easier with the GPS data logged in the flight recorder on board!

So what’s the catch? This is great news right? Well, it seems that back in 1981 the Federal Aviation Administration in a document titled “Model Aircraft Operating Standards” banned the use of drones for commercial purposes and has restricted the use of these devices to non-commercial uses or “hobbyists”.

Here’s an excerpt from the document.

Modelers, generally, are concerned about safety and do exercise good judgement when flying model aircraft. However, model aircraft can at times pose a hazard to full-scale aircraft in flight and to persons and property on the surface. Compliance with the following standards will help reduce the potential for that hazard and create a good neighbor environment with affected communities and airspace users”

The document goes on to explain flight restrictions and proper protocol and is mainly more of a guideline for the hobbyist flyers out there.

For Canadians a similar guideline has been set up and can be found under the civil aviation standards.

So that’s the bad news, the somewhat good news is that due to the growing popularity and the speed at which these new high tech devices are being offered to the general public the FAA is developing new rules to govern the operation of these devices. The somewhat part comes from the fact that the FAA has said new rules won’t be finalized until late 2015.

Increasing need for Precision Agriculture and the growing adoption rate of technology in the agriculture industry seems to be pushing back at this lengthy wait time though. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) is calling for a quicker turn around on these rules in a Policy Amendment they have written. NASDA also cautions that the FAA being too strict could limit the growth of this technology to provide better crops and reducing pesticide use:

With the future of Drone Aviation uncertain, I would encourage growers to have a voice on the topic. In the meantime, GGS will continue to explore how this can be used as a technological advantage for our customers.

Share your opinion below.

Posted By Anthony Mundula read more

Greenhouse Crops With Maximum Profit Growth Potential


Back in the summer of 2013 I wrote an article titled What Can I Grow in a Greenhouse? The focus was to highlight some of the unique uses for greenhouses that we have encountered in our 35+ years of helping greenhouse growers grow their businesses. Many of the greenhouse products suggested back then still show promise for profitable growth today, and a few new ones have emerged.

When looking for a profitable growth product one of the signals is increasing market demand. Considering the world population is an aging demographic, products that relate to health will likely continue to grow.

Medicinal herbs like: motherwort which is said to be good for heart conditions; spilanthes is considered an immune system stimulant; calendula, basil, feverfew, German chamomile, echinacea, and ginseng, are just a few of the healing herbs that fit the potential market demand.

Continuing on the topic of medicinal plants, marijuana is all the rage. With the US market currently sitting just under 3 billion dollars and estimates of growth to 5 billion by the end of 2016, it is no surprise that some greenhouse growers are looking to convert their greenhouses to this potentially lucrative crop. Marijuana is a cool crop so marijuana greenhouses require good ventilation, but odor control is also necessary for most marijuana production licenses.

Marijuana is not the only hot medicinal greenhouse plant. Several companies over the last few years have discovered that infusing plants with a virus shows great potential for producing vaccines. Typically a strain of tobacco plant is genetically modified instead of using animal protein. This is known as biosimilar plant production and is not only more cost effective, but also requires a lot less time to market than traditional vaccine production. Biosimilar plant production may require research style greenhouse facilities in order to meet the GMP requirements of the drug companies.

Two more trends in consumer health consumption are the “local food movement” and hydroponics. Greenhouses that are able to capitalize on “close to market” advertising have an opportunity to brand their greenhouse produce as a premium quality food for the health conscious consumer. Likewise hydroponic greenhouse growers are seeing increasing demand from shoppers. We work with the leading hydroponic production companies to provide greenhouses and greenhouse heating systems that maximize efficiencies.

Outside of the health market, immigration is exposing most markets to expanding diverse cultures and this is fueling niche market demands for all kinds of ethnic, and otherwise unique foods. Edible flowers provide vibrant colours to restaurant meal. Many Asian fruits and vegetables can thrive in a greenhouse.

In addition to a worldwide aging demographic, consider regional wealth profiles. Asia, and in particular, China is experiencing a tremendous rise in the middle class. As their buying power increases, so do opportunities for greenhouse producers.

According to the World Bank by 2030 fish farms will need to be able to produce close to two thirds of global fish consumption due to population growth and reduced levels of wild fish. Currently 38 percent of all fish produced in the world is exported, and by 2030 Asia is projected to account for 70% of the world demand for seafood products. By using the greenhouse climate to optimize the growing environment, we have seen aquiculture farms succeed. In North America greenhouse aquiculture typically raise tilapia, or arctic char in combination with a water plant like seaweed. In recent years greenhouse farmed aquiculture crops have also included shrimp, and increasing market demand for seafood could see opportunities for other aquiculture farming. For aquiculture the favorite greenhouse is a Widespan gutter connect greenhouse with tall under gutter heights. This enables good environmental control under a square footage that is capable of housing large production water tanks.

Biofuel is another area with increasing market demand. Algae can now be produced in a greenhouse and as advanced fuel research continues to measure and improve ways to replace fossil fuels, this is an area where specialty growers may thrive.

But the future market growth potential of a greenhouse crop is not the only factor in considering whether it could be profitable for you. More profitable crops for long-term growing typically have higher barriers to entry. Medicinal plants have significant regulations which require specialized growing environments, air filtration, and seed to sale traceability, etc. Quality and consistency are of primary importance so established suppliers will have an advantage as medical producers are going to be resistant to switching to an unknown supplier.

Marijuana currently has extremely high barriers to entry with most government bodies strictly controlling and limiting who gets a license to grow. In Uruguay there are only 5 marijuana cultivation licenses being awarded, in Minnesota it was just two.

When strategically examining crop options you also need to consider your team’s strengths and weaknesses and make sure that you pick crops which complement your organization. Can you easily import knowledge through consultants or new hires where needed? Does the new crop have synergies with your existing product mix, or does it make sense to have an entirely different business venture.

Of course this article is just scratching the surface of possibilities for commercial greenhouses today. If you have experience with any creative greenhouse crops or other uses we would love to read them in the comments below!


Posted By Leigh Coulter read more

The Power Of Love In A Single Rose


Single Rose Image







As Valentine’s Day approaches everyone’s thoughts turn to flowers. The Cupiddrone is the newest tech initiative from Using smart new technology to delight and surprise customers the Cupiddrone none the less shows us that technology alone is not the answer. It is the flower in the end that makes the human connection.

At GGS we are dedicated to helping growers grow.  We design greenhouses to provide the ideal environments for your plants, and we look for technological advances that can help us as well as our customers. Back in 2013 when we received notice from Google that we had been selected to be one of the google glass explorers, we knew that wearable internet connected devices have the potential to be disruptive technology in the greenhouse industry. One year later we were one of the first companies to bring drone technology to greenhouses and farms, exploring how drones could be used by our customers to improve their businesses. 

But regardless of the technology, and whether it improves production efficiency, provides marketing insight, helps you grow a better crop, or allows you to make viral youtube videos, the flower is what really matters. Last year Bloemenbureau Holland reminded everyone of the power of a rose without any high tech gadgetry.

So this Valentine’s Day, whether you are delivering bouquets by drones, by van, or by foot, know that the flowers you grow in your greenhouse are making the world a better place. 

Happy Valentines Week!

Posted By Leigh Coulter read more

Generation Now: Bryce Danbrook on Why He Got Into Horticulture


Commercial Greenhouse Hydrangea GrowerIt was late 2009. I was 3 and a half years out of high school and working full time at Canada’s largest musical instruments retailer. If you had asked me then, I would have told you I had my dream job. I was constantly learning, meeting interesting people, and had access to all the latest toys and gadgets. It’s funny how perspective can change. I was very proud and successful in what I did, but no longer felt challenged and was seeking the fulfillment of participating in something more profound. In the midst of economic uncertainty, nothing seemed more secure and essential than the need for food.

Out of countless friends and acquaintances spending many thousands of dollars on a post-secondary education, few of them had pursued a career in the field of their studies. I was convinced that if I was going to spend my money, I wanted to specialize in something that was inarguably essential. It’s a funny thing, food. People need it. Every day. With all the talk in those days about careers being “recession proof”, it seemed obvious that people’s need for food was unwavering. Therefore, if I was able to produce food, there would always be mouths to consume it.

Having come from a farming family, I was all too familiar with the harsh conditions and intense labour required in the lifestyle. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of committing to the immense effort involved, when one late frost, or exceptionally dry summer could tarnish an entire season’s work. Can you blame me? I began to really see the value in controlled environment crop production, and was convinced that the future of agriculture depended on it. I remember coming across an article forecasting the coming age of vertical farms. Something inside me clicked, and I knew that I somehow needed to prepare myself to participate in bringing that dream to fruition. I didn’t want to aim myself for where horticulture and agriculture is today, I wanted to aim for where they’re going in the future.

Through months of researching college and university programs, I became particularly interested in Niagara College’s Greenhouse Technician Co-op program. Being in the routine of working, I felt that the blend of practical hands on learning, and structured academic study would favour my learning style, as well as offer me real work experience within the industry. I became fascinated with the intricacies of greenhouse production, and felt that the science involved would be the most transferable to where I saw the future of both horticulture and agriculture heading.  Several months later, I had been accepted and was looking for an apartment to move into for September, near the NOTL campus.

I was sensible enough to know that no school program will get you where you want to go. Rather, school introduces you to the skills, and develops the confidence needed for ambitious people to pursue their goals. I took every opportunity available to participate in extracurricular learning, join research groups, and pick the brain of industry experts. I tried to adapt every project and assignment to be relevant to my particular goals, or at least take something relevant from the experience. I particularly enjoyed the challenge of designing indoor vertical farming systems, and production techniques to be used for such applications. I relearned the importance of always keeping the big picture in mind, staying organized and thinking outside the box to solve problems, which in crop production, are never in short supply.

Since entering the industry, I have been privileged to apply my skills in several areas such as horticultural research, large scale hydroponic vegetable production and floriculture. For two seasons I managed a garden center offering countless varieties of vegetables, annuals and perennials. This demanded a huge amount of multitasking and time management, and challenged me to take full responsibility of managerial duties. Following this experience, I was contacted by a group in the beginning stages of applying to Health Canada’s new MMRP program. For those who are unfamiliar, this is the new program tasked with regulating Canada’s new commercial scale medical marijuana facilities. For the next year, I became the go-to for horticultural knowledge and consulting in retrofitting a 30,000 square foot warehouse into a highly efficient indoor farm. I saw this highly valuable crop as a basis for developing techniques that will enable other crops to be adapted for vertical farming applications. This process provided invaluable insight to the unforeseen complications inherent within such a project. I accumulated a huge amount of knowledge and experience which would serve as a solid foundation for helping others pursue similar projects, and overcoming the challenges necessary to carry vertical farming into the future.

It’s been a short 4 and a half years. I have been privileged to gain experience in many facets of crop production and the supporting industries. I am excited to now be a member of the GGS team. Each day I look forward to applying what I’ve gained through my own experiences, and learning from the years of experience GGS has to offer. I still don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I rest assured that I’m in the right place to help develop the horticulture and agricultural systems of tomorrow.

Posted By Bryce Danbrook read more

Marijuana: Not Enough Research


Research Greenhouse

                                                                                                Photos courtesy of:  JGS Limited  Research Greenhouse Specialists

While the debates around the cannabis plant are heated and varied, one thing that all opinions appear to agree with is: there is not enough research to date.

There is not enough research to know the effects on the adolescent mind, there is not enough research to prove the benefits for Alzheimer’s patients, or Epilepsy, or Parkinson’s sufferers, or soldiers with PTSD. The anti-pot campaign wants more research before we risk exposing innocents to a new drug. The Pro-cannabis side argues that research has been stifled to perpetuate a myth of “Reefer Madness”. And everyone should want to understand more about the benefits of THC, CBD, and the other 83 active cannabinoids that have already been identified in cannabis.

The citizens of the world, are no longer willing to wait for clinical trials and more research. Voters are casting their ballots in response to enormous amounts of anecdotal evidence that shows marijuana has valid and just medical benefits for millions of sufferers. The movement has spread throughout the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the UK, Spain, Uruguay, Columbia, South Africa and more.


 For the times they are a-changin’!


So where do we go from here?  If we can all agree there is not enough research then focus needs to be placed on doing research.  Our sister company, JGS Limited is a worldwide leader in the design of technologically advanced research environments.  With a focus on building facilities that empower plant scientists to study and innovate, JGS has worked with many of the leading Agricultural Research institutes. 

Companies and individuals looking to encourage cannabis plant research should start a dialog with one or more of these Agricultural Science Universities, which according to US News, have been ranked as the Best Global Universities for Agricultural Sciences. Clinical research starts with plant life science research. Together we can make a difference.  We have placed a leaf beside those universities that we are currently aware have a cannabis research program in place or plans to start one.


University of Guelph marijuana leaf denotes cannabis research

University of British Columbia marijuana leaf denotes cannabis research

University of Alberta

McGill University marijuana leaf denotes cannabis research

University of Saskatchewan

University of Manitoba

University of Toronto



United States 

University of California-Davis marijuana leaf denotes cannabis research

Cornell University

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

University of Florida

Harvard University

University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Rutgers State University

Tufts University

University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

University of Georgia

Michigan State University

Pennsylvania State University marijuana leaf denotes cannabis research

Washington State University

North Carolina State University

University of California--Berkeley

Purdue University

Ohio State University

Iowa State University

Texas A&M University-College Station

Oregon State University

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Kansas State University

Colorado State University

University of Maryland-College Park

University of Arizona

Johns Hopkins University marijuana leaf denotes cannabis research


University of Western Australia

University of Queensland Australia

University of Adelaide

University of Sydney marijuana leaf denotes cannabis research

University of Melbourne




University of Bodenkultur Wien




Ghent University

KU Leuven




Universidade de São Paulo

Universidade Estadual de Campinas

Universidade Estadual Paulista

Universidade Federal de Viçosa




China Agricultural University

Zhejiang University

Nanjing Agricultural University

South China University of Technology

Jiangnan University

Northwest A&F University-China

Huazhong Agricultural University




University of Copenhagen

Aarhus University

Technical University of Denmark

“Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.”

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Containment Greenhouses environmental compartments


University of Helsinki




University Hohenheim

Technical University of Munich

University of Bonn

University of Kiel




Agricultural University of Athens




University of Tehran

University of Göttingen




University College Cork

University College Dublin




Hebrew University of Jerusalem marijuana leaf denotes cannabis research




University of Milan

University of Bologna

University of Naples Federico II

University of Padua




University of Tokyo

Kyoto University

Hokkaido University




Universiti Putra Malaysia


Wageningen University and Research Center

VU University Amsterdam

Utrecht University

Maastricht University



New Zealand 

Massey University




Universidade do Porto

Universidade de Lisboa



South Korea 

Seoul National University




University of Barcelona

University of Valencia

Polytechnic University of Valencia

Universitat de Lleida

Universidad de Cordoba

University of Zaragoza

Autonomous University of Barcelona




Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Lund University




Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich




National Taiwan University

National Chung Hsing University

China Medical University Taiwan

Research Greenhouse Rooftop Greenhouse

United Kingdom 

University of Reading

University of East Anglia

University of Aberdeen

University of Nottingham


While, Agricultural Universities are a good starting place for all plant science research including cannabis research, it is not the only place to look.  The University of California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) is set up in San Diego with the purpose of coordinating scientific studies to assess the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabis compounds for treating medical conditions.

Of course Colorado is currently the most active area in North America, with health officials having recommended funding 8 different cannabis research studies, two of which will study the effects on childhood epilepsy, and two others will research the benefits for treating post-traumatic stress disorder.  And while The University of Colorado has understandably benefited most from the funding proposals, The University of Pennsylvania and John Hopkins University in Baltimore have also benefited.

If you are aware of any additional Cannabis Research please comment below.  At GGS we are committed to helping growers grow.  We work with canabis growers to ensure your mother plants, cloning, and growing rooms are designed and built to ensure quality, and maximize yield.  Our sister company JGS works along side plant scientists to provide the most technologically advanced research greenhouses around the world.  Together we all can make a difference.





Posted By Leigh Coulter read more

Here Come The Drones


At GGS we believe that success means we have helped our customers grow.  To help you grow we listen to your concerns, hear what your needs are, and we actively watch what is going on in the world around us.  This enables us to provide better technology, more responsive services, and higher quality products to your farms.

Early this year we published news of our first drone experiment.  It was clear that drone technology had rapidly evolved from high priced military tools, to moderately priced toys.  It was equally clear that drones will one day impact many of our customer’s businesses. 

In the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s (AUVSI’s) economic study they predict  the economic impact will be $82 billion and create more than 100,000 jobs in the first decade after integration and they predict agricultural uses will eventually account for 80 per cent of the commercial market for drones.

So what will agriculture use drones for?

According to The Globe and Mail: Today’s drone technology promises a bumper crop of rich data for farmers, ecologists, ranchers and scientists.1

When considering why Intel dropped $10 Million in Cash on an investment in Drone technology this week Fastcompany observed: If you own a drone company that wants to fly unmanned aircrafts for farms and insurance companies, this is your year.2

PrecisionHawk, the company that Intel just invested in, has a drone called Lancaster that is a scaled down high wing airplane. It’s President and co-founder Dr. Earon holds a PhD from the University of Toronto’s Institute for Aerospace Studies, specialized in using robotics for planetary exploration. Dr. Ernest Earon has been quoted saying “I see drones becoming the cell phone of agriculture”

In 40 minutes, 120 hectares can be surveyed by Lancaster, and while that means precious time savings to farmers, what Intel knows is that it also provides the ability to capture incredible amounts of crop data that can be analysed and used for better farming decisions. Tie that into the Internet of Things and you have instant access to large scale data.

Drones can provide farmers with three types of detailed views. First, seeing a crop from the air can reveal patterns that expose everything from irrigation problems to soil variation and even pest and fungal infestations that aren’t apparent at eye level. Second, airborne cameras can take multispectral images, capturing data from the infrared as well as the visual spectrum, which can be combined to create a view of the crop that highlights differences between healthy and distressed plants in a way that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Finally, a drone can survey a crop every week, every day, or even every hour. Combined to create a time-series animation, that imagery can show changes in the crop, revealing trouble spots or opportunities for better crop management.3

Drones specifically geared for agriculture can be linked to Google Earth through your tractor’s GPS system letting you know exactly where to go to fix a crop problem.

In Canada regulations allow commercial uses of drones under licensed conditions.  While FAA regulations still prohibit commercial use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the US, one of America’s largest Insurance companies formally petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on October 2 for permission to use drone aircraft to process insurance claims.4

Chrissy Guthoerl, Manager of the Tasco Dome division, which manufactures and sells fabric covered buildings around the world said “Tasco Dome is deeply rooted in the agricultural industry in North America, Europe, and Asia, and everyone is talking about drone technology being a tool for managing large scale farms on many different levels.”

The benefits for field crop farmers, cattle farmers, large nursery farms, is obvious, but what about greenhouses? When GGS decided to see what could be done with a drone we chose a model more akin to a helicopter than an airplane. Easier to maneuver inside and outside greenhouses the GGS Drone has been used to experiment with the technology.

“Mostly we have used it to take pictures for our greenhouse customers, and pictures of our greenhouses under construction.  A larger model could potentially be used in the future to spray whitewash on summer glass roofs.” said our GGS Drone Pilot and Technical Support Rep, Anthony Mundula. “A drone is certainly a quick and inexpensive way to get photographs of your property for building permit applications”.

Michael Camplin, Sales Manager added “For poly greenhouses a potential use for drones is to scan for damage to the poly from ice and storms. Inside a greenhouse drones are not as practical, but many of our greenhouse customers also have large outdoor production areas. Nursery growers, landscapers, large garden centers with acres of outdoor retail, can better manage crop inventory by using drone technology. Tying it into your computer systems is going to be the next big thing”.

If you haven’t already entered our contest to win your very own drone complete with GoPro camera, time is running out, click here before Dec 31, 2014 to get your name in the drone contest







Posted By Leigh Coulter read more

Cannabis Consulting: What Marijuana Growers Need To Know


In designing an efficient facility to grow medical marijuana, it is important that a well thought out plan is prepared and agreed to. Without this the cost of the project will escalate far above the budget. This plan needs to take into consideration all the requirements outlined in the regulations prepared by the governing body and the regulations of the municipality where the facility will be constructed.

 In preparing the plan, it is advisable to have the participation of the master grower as he/she will ultimately be responsible for the quality and quantity of product grown. When the master grower is not onboard during the consulting phase, it is necessary to have more than one alternative available for discussion and budgeting.

 The plan needs to cover among other things:

  • Location
  • Enclosed warehouse building or greenhouse
  • Size of facility, number of rooms for veg, flowering, clones, mother plants, etc.
  • HVAC or other heating and cooling methods  
  • Need for odor control
  • Ventilation
  • Growing method (pots on the ground or on benches, troughs, flood trays, etc)
  • CO2  dosing
  • Irrigation requirements depending on the growing method, the number of fertilizer recipes, the need for RO water purification, fertilizer water to waste or recirculation, etc.
  • Lighting (HPS, MH, LED, florescent, induction, etc. ) and if it is supplemental as in a greenhouse, or primary lighting in a warehouse.
  • Blackout shading for photoperiod for greenhouse growers
  • Computer controls
  • Mezzanine construction, and accessibility requirements for anything on additional floors
  • Maximizing use of available space

In addition to the above, the plan needs to take into consideration site security, testing labs, storage, vault, offices, packaging, shipping etc. Much of this depends on the regulations and does not affect the growing of the product.  GGS specializes in advanced growing systems and design, for the components that do not involve growing cannabis we work with an extensive network of professionals and can assist you in putting together the best team for your needs.

 The extent of GGS’s input into the plan will depend on the in-house expertise and an initial meeting is needed to determine the amount of input that is required from GGS. This can be of a conceptual nature or it can include drawings, specifications, proposals from outside suppliers, etc. Once this has been agreed to, GGS can quote a fixed price or can work by the hour in developing the plan.

Contact us if you want to discuss this further.

Posted By Gerry Harrison read more

Gutter Connected Greenhouse Lean-to 101


A greenhouse Lean-to is one of the most versatile additions to a gutter connect greenhouse range that any greenhouse manufacturer can offer you. Consider the different ways a Lean-to structure can add production space, improve productivity, and provide connectivity to your greenhouse range.

Lean-tos are used for a number of applications – storage, extra bench spacing, propagation, extra growing space, connecting halls.  If you retail, it can be a good place for extra stock during the busy spring months, or used as a window display area if covered in glass.

There are 3 major different types of Lean-tos:

  • The Connecting Lean-to:


This style of Lean-to connects your warehouse, or store front to the greenhouse range or greenhouse garden center.  Most often the connecting lean-to slopes away from a warehouse wall in a straight slope.  However they can also be manufactured into a curved arch design similar to your greenhouse arch.  The optimal style for a connecting lean-to will depend on the width of the area you wish to cover and the difference in height between your building façade and the greenhouse gutter.

Connecting Lean-tos are engineered to account for additional snow load created by the main warehouse building.  The direction and the length of the slope of your warehouse building are considered when we design and manufacture these.


  • The Sidewall Lean-to:

This style of Lean-to is most often chosen for adding additional square footage within a comfortable budget. Ideal for greenhouse growers who plan to expand onto a sidewall in the future, the sidewall lean-to provides an arch from the gutter to the grade.

The second most common reason greenhouse growers choose this style of lean-to is to maximize coverage of your property.  Sidewall lean-tos can be designed for various widths making it a valuable option if you have a little extra room on your property but cannot fit a full sized greenhouse bay. 



  • The Gutter height adjusting Lean-to:


This style of Lean-to is most often required over time as greenhouse expansions take advantage of the improved growing environment that taller gutter heights give you.

Covering growing area between gutters of different heights can be designed with a straight slope similar to the Connecting Lean-to, but is more often accomplished with a specially rolled arch in order to maintain the same footprint as the gutter connected range.  Custom rolled arches are an economical way to manufacture a greenhouse roof, and maintaining the same footprint is much easier for your ongoing production planning.

Recently the NGMA (National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association) published their annual Structures Report.  Many growers responded to this survey saying they are planning to expand their greenhouse operation this year, however most felt their expansion plans would be less than 10,000 square feet. If you are a grower like those surveyed by the Greenhouse Manufacturers Association, a lean-to may be exactly what you are looking for.

Interested in a Lean-to? Contact GGS now



Posted By Leigh Coulter read more

10 Commercial Greenhouse Improvements for Best Value Returns



Side View of Garden Centre

There are many reasons to make improvements in a commercial greenhouse, modernizing your greenhouse can reduce maintenance costs, or make productivity improvements, or improve the greenhouse environment for better growing, or maybe you want to add some extra growing space.  Whatever the reason it is important to understand what the goal is before you talk to your greenhouse manufacturer.

  1. Replacing stationary benches with rolling benches can add 25% more production space compared to conventional stationary bench layouts. By eliminating the extra aisles needed for stationary benches, rolling benches are a much more efficient use of your greenhouse.
  2. Bringing in material handling systems like double rail carts or Rotating Basket Systems can greatly increase productivity. Remember if your material handling system is supported by the greenhouse you need to make sure the greenhouse design will handle these loads. Greenhouse manufacturers and equipment suppliers work together to design systems that integrate well.
  3. Install energy curtains. Energy curtains will result in significant heat savings in the winter – between 20 to 40 percent for northern greenhouses. They also provide shade and help keep your greenhouse cool in the summer months. Shade systems and energy curtains can be added to most gutter connect and freestanding greenhouses.  Greenhouse manufacturers like GGS are able to retrofit most existing greenhouses.
  4. Upgrade your boiler to a high efficiency boiler, or if you are using unit heaters, change to high efficiency heaters.  Not only will the increased efficiency leave more money in your pocket each winter, it’s also good for the environment.
  5. Consider ebb and flood benches, or trough benches. The savings potential in irrigation water and fertilizer can justify the cost of the benches with a favourable ROI.
  6. Increasing ventilation on your greenhouse provides better flexibility for your growing environment to reduce humidity, increase air flow, or help to harden plants. Rollup curtains can be added on to any hoop house or gutter connected poly sidewalls or poly end walls, and can be manually operated or hooked up with a simple motor. Hard glazed sides and ends can be fitted with swinging vents, and in most cases we can reuse the existing sidewall glazing. And if you don’t already have roof ventilation: GGS manufactures gutter vents, and ridge vents that can be added to most greenhouse arches.
  7. Adding a Lean-to to the side of your existing gutter connected greenhouse is the most economical production space a greenhouse manufacturer can provide you.  If you are looking to expand your greenhouse operation but don’t have the budget or the demand for a large scale construction project a lean-to may just be the answer you are looking for.
  8. Put in an environmental control system, or update your current environmental control system. The capabilities of the computerized environmental controls today are amazing.  If you don’t know where to begin talk to your greenhouse manufacturer.  At GGS we work with all the major control companies, and we are happy to assist growers in selecting the controls that best suit your needs.
  9. A simple little thing like adding HAF fans inside your greenhouse can have a beneficial effect on both your crop and your workforce. At GGS we provide you with HAF fan layouts to maximize consistent airflow in your greenhouse and eliminate dead areas. If your greenhouse has hot spots in the summer it’s not just your plants that may be lagging, creating a good working environment will lead to more productive workers too.
  10. Reglazing the roof. If you are growing in a poly greenhouse the reglazing is part of your regular maintenance schedule. But, 8mm PCSS roofs, Acrylic, and even glass can get dull, or damaged. When looking at how to get more out of your greenhouse consider the light levels you need and review your roof glazing.
Posted By Leigh Coulter read more

GGS Bought A Helicopter Part 2


GGS Bought A Helicopter Part 2

Just over a month ago GGS Structures Inc invested in a drone. We were interested in what the tiny yet powerful device could mean to the greenhouse industry.

Every day a handful of new articles pop up on news feeds with a new way that drone technology is being used. It's been interesting following this hot new trend. Just this week an amateur pilot of a drone helped locate and rescue an 82-year-old missing man helping end a three day search.

GGS decided to use the drone to make a video of some of our structures and put together a totally new perspective for looking at greenhouses from above. If you missed us at Cultivate 14 now is your chance to see some incredible footage.

With all the news and uses coming up since the release of these devices it's clear the technology has a future in the greenhouse industry.

We felt so strongly about it that for GGS Structures Inc's 35th anniversary we are celebrating by giving away a drone complete with a GoPro camera! Have a look at our video and enter to win!

Posted By Anthony Mundula read more


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