Policies and Procedures

RESEARCH GREENHOUSE

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Revised February 9th, 2016

PURPOSE AND DESCRIPTION

A. The Walnut Street Greenhouse (WSGH) is a research complex of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, (CALS) consisting of greenhouse facilities and coldframe space. The greenhouses have 72 individual houses of varying size, providing 15,000 square feet of bench space, of which 70% is air-conditioned. 46 coldframes furnish an additional 3,800 square feet of space dedicated to plant research.

B.The King Hall Greenhouse, 1525 Observatory Drive, is a research complex of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and consists of four greenhouses. The greenhouses have 2,000 square feet under glass, of which 1200 square feet is bench space. All four greenhouses are air-conditioned.

C. The Eagle Heights Field is 3 acres in size and used for research or instructional purposes. Use of the field is free for instructional purposes, research projects pay a rental fee. The Eagle Heights field is also home to the F. H. King Sustainable Agriculture program.

D. The West Madison greenhouse complex, 8502 Mineral Point Road, consists of two greenhouses with a total of 4,400 square feet of bench space for research and instruction. A daily watering service (M-F) is provided for researchers.

E. The WSGH operates under the CALS Centralized Greenhouse Management System and the WSGH Policies and Procedures.

 

SPACE ALLOCATION

A. The managers of the Greenhouse must be made aware of all space request needs, preferably as far in advance as possible. They are available by phone (265-8053), by e-mail (elhummel@wisc.edu), or in person at the greenhouse. You do NOT need to fill out a request form to rent space (that policy has been discontinued.)

B. Greenhouse space should be requested and will be allocated only for the specific period required for the project. Accurate estimates of project space and time needs are important so that as many users as possible may be accommodated. Discuss any special requirements or concerns with the greenhouse staff. Any delays, or anticipated delays, in the startup or completion of a project should be discussed with the staff as soon as possible. Greenhouse researchers are required to tell us when their project is completed.
C. Due to the nature of rotational crop research, any project that temporarily vacates a greenhouse for a span of less than three months (with the intent to use the same space again) may be charged for the intervening time. We will attempt to rent the space during the interim to another user if possible, but since most projects are not that short-term, the original occupant will likely have to pay for having the greenhouse “on hold” for them during that period. This is also pertinent if special equipment or conditions prevent the greenhouse from being rented to another user.

D. Requests are considered on a first-come/first-served basis. Priority will be given to faculty, staff and students of CALS. Greenhouse researchers should contact the manager to request space well in advance of their anticipated start date, since greenhouse space is limited and space may not be available.

E. Factors considered in allocating space are: current space demands, project size, pest susceptibility, crop compatibility and sanitation.

F. Any investigator who wants to use an air-conditioned greenhouse must demonstrate a need to conduct plant research in a temperature controlled greenhouse.

G. Problems regarding greenhouse space allocation will be brought to the Ag Research Stations Committee via the Greenhouse Manager.

H. The staff will inform those requesting space of the greenhouse or coldframe number and the dates reserved for their project within ten (10) working days of receiving their request.

 

GREENHOUSE CHARGES

A. Each research project is charged at the rate of $0.45 per square foot of bench space per month in the older section of Walnut Street, at King Hall and at West Madison. Coldframe space costs $4.50 per month, per coldframe. Costs for using the newer section of the Walnut Street Greenhouse are $0.73 per square foot of bench space per month. In either section of the greenhouse, you will be charged for the entire greenhouse if you specify environmental conditions that preclude other users from using that greenhouse.   From May 1 through October 30, greenhouses in the older section which are air-conditioned are charged $0.73 per square foot of bench space per month. Air-conditioned space will be prorated if more than one researcher is using a greenhouse. If there is only one researcher in an air conditioned greenhouse, they will be charged for the entire house. There is no charge for field or instructional space.

B. Minimum charges are for one-half month. Charges begin on the first day for which space has been reserved whether or not the project has begun to use the space. Any research work that prevents the use of a greenhouse by other investigators (such as insect feeding trials) will be charged for the entire greenhouse.

 

ACCESS AND SECURITY

A. Normal working hours for the WSGH are 7:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

B. The main entrances at the Walnut Street Greenhouse are unlocked from 6:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. All other times are considered “after hours.” Doors will be locked on U.S. holidays and days the University is declared officially closed (snow days, furlough days, etc.)

C. All users are required to keep the greenhouse doors locked after hours, that is, after 5:00 p.m. weekdays and at all times on weekends. Greenhouse users must check the doors after they exit to ensure that they are locked.

D. Access after 5:00 p.m. and before 6:00 a.m. will be available only through authorization by your program administrator. For access after hours, students, staff or faculty must activate ID cards in order to obtain entry via the electronic security system. Contact greenhouse staff or mention during orientation if you need to have after-hours access.

E. After-hours access is authorized only for the individual identified on the University “Wiscard” and may not be used by anyone other than the authorized individual. Wiscards cards should not be loaned to anyone. Loaning your Wiscard to allow unauthorized person(s) to enter the greenhouse may result in loss of greenhouse access. If a greenhouse user has difficulty entering the greenhouse, they should call campus security at 262-2957 to be let into the greenhouse.

 

PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

A. All first time users of the WSGH complex are required to schedule an orientation to the facility with the WSGH staff. The session will provide an overview of the facility and available services, and an introduction to WPS (Worker Protection Standards), emergency response plan, and other safety issues pertinent to the greenhouse environment. In addition, the Policies and Procedures of the WSGH will be reviewed. Other topics will be addressed as needed, or upon request, such as: correct procedures for soil sterilization or pasteurization, disease and pest avoidance/control, and use of the environmental control systems in the facility.

B. Greenhouse supplies required for a project should be mentioned as soon as possible to greenhouse staff. Requests should be made far enough in advance to allow time to order and receive supplies if necessary.

C. The WSGH maintains an inventory of most standard size plastic pots, heavy duty Dyna-flats, basic media (field soil, compost), amendments (sand, peat moss, perlite, vermiculite) and a soilless mix (Metro-mix 366P).

D. Acquisition of non-standard plant containers or other specialized supplies required for a project should be discussed with the WSGH staff. Research groups will be charged for any ordered supplies that are unique to their needs (not reusable by other future research groups.)

 

PROJECT ASSISTANCE and RESPONSIBILITY

A. The WSGH staff will assist with the following activities:

  1. Media preparation on a 50/50 labor share basis. Advance notice of 5 working days is required.
  1. Washing and disinfecting plant containers. A minimum of 7 working days advance notice is required. Most pots/stakes/flats on site are pre-washed and autoclaved, and are ready to be used.

B. Assistance with soil sterilization and pasteurization is available with prior notice. The WSGH staff must train researchers before using the autoclave or Lindig system.

C. A sign-up sheet is posted for reserving the autoclave or Lindig pasteurizer. Materials should be removed from carts as soon as possible and carts returned to the autoclave room. When all soil trays are not needed by a single project, users are encouraged to share available cart space. Two very small steamers are available. One is in the headhouse at Walnut Street and one is in the headhouse of the King Hall Greenhouse.

D. Bench height, supplemental lighting and time clocks will be adjusted to project needs to the extent reasonably allowable. As the electrical capacity can vary considerably between houses, providing complete information to greenhouse staff regarding supplemental lighting needs is very important. The greenhouse staff cannot change the height of the supplemental lights.

E. The WSGH staff is available to assist with problems or special needs that arise during the course of a project.

F. Only greenhouse or coldframe related research materials may be stored at WSGH. No project materials may be stored in the head house without permission from the greenhouse manager. Under no circumstances may researchers store materials on usable bench space. Only when absolutely necessary, may items be stored under the greenhouse benches. Work, greenhouse and storage areas should be kept clean and orderly at all times.

G. Greenhouse aisles must be kept clear of obstructions to allow for safe and unobstructed passage and access between and within greenhouses.

H. Head house space is “common space.” Work space and sink areas used by researchers should be cleaned up immediately after use and all general greenhouse equipment returned promptly, in a clean condition.

I. The WSGH maintains and has available a variety of equipment, tools and supplies for use by researchers at the greenhouses or at the Eagle Heights field. Examples include a fertilizer injector, carts, wheelbarrows, soil sifters, mower, hand sprayers, hoses, hose extensions, shut-off valves, nozzles, watering cans, trash cans, ladders, miscellaneous hand tools, etc. Equipment should be returned promptly, clean and ready for the next user. No materials may be taken off site without notifying the greenhouse staff first.

J. The shop, and tools within the shop, are for the exclusive use of the greenhouse staff. However, tools may be checked out to individuals. The cost of unreturned tools will be charged against project accounts. Power equipment may not be used without proper training and the use of safety equipment.

K. Greenhouses are routinely visited by WSGH staff to check for proper operation of the heating and venting systems, evaporative cooling systems, air conditioning units, broken or slipped glass and overall condition of plant materials.

L. Application of shading compound is available upon request beginning in mid to late spring. Shading will be removed starting in September. Shading compound is used on the older section of greenhouses and at King Hall.

M. Weed control of the greenhouse floors is performed, as needed, by greenhouse staff. Weeds growing on the greenhouse benches, assigned coldframes and field space and in project materials are the responsibility of the individual researchers and should be maintained in as weed-free a condition as possible.

N. Throughout the course of their project, researchers are responsible for keeping their assigned houses clean, orderly and well swept. Researchers should follow routine hygiene practices in assigned spaces. Dead plants and debris must be cleaned from benches and floors daily and organic waste buckets and trash emptied regularly.

O. Failure to maintain assigned space in an orderly manner and weed-free condition may subject the project to a $25.00 per hour, per person clean-up fee. A warning will be issued before a clean-up fee is assessed.

P. At the termination of their project, researchers are responsible for removing, discarding and/or returning all equipment, materials, supplies and rubbish from greenhouse, coldframe and field space. Floors and benches must be cleaned of plant debris. Cleanup time should be figured into the time requested for your research. Upon project completion, if space is not adequately emptied and cleaned, the researcher will be notified and given five (5) working days to complete termination of their project. After the five (5) days, WSGH staff will perform the work and charge the project at the rate of $25.00 per hour, per person.

Q. A mist/propagation greenhouse is available. See the greenhouse staff for a description of its capabilities.

R. Two large walk-in coolers are available for general use. A set temperature of 4 degrees C (40F) is generally maintained.   Materials stored in the refrigerator or walk-in cooler must be labeled and dated.

S. Deionized water is available in the newer section’s headhouse. Researchers are encouraged to use the deionized water as sparingly as possible. Large volume use of DI water will be charged to the user.

T. A limited number of chairs are available for a classroom setup.

U. Greenhouse space may not be used for propagating or producing plants for personal or private use.

V. Tours of the greenhouse complex can be arranged for visiting researchers, community or school groups, with advance notice.

W. Greenhouse announcements and notices are posted at the kiosks. Users are advised to read the information posted on these bulletin boards on a regular basis.

X. Several modern growth chambers are available for general use. Please see the greenhouse staff for a description of the capabilities of the growth chambers.

 

PEST SCOUTING and PEST CONTROL

A. The most efficient and effective pest control program is based on preventing the introduction of pests. Therefore, NO plants may be brought into the WSGH without first being inspected by WSGH staff. If pests are discovered, the greenhouse manager will either treat the plants in place or recommend that they be placed in WSGH #45, a quarantine greenhouse. The greenhouse staff will treat the plants in order to eliminate the pests. Only when the greenhouse manager feels that the plants no longer pose a threat to other greenhouse projects may the plants be moved into the West Madison, Soils or Walnut Street Greenhouses proper. It can cost up to $900 in materials and labor to eliminate insect pests in just one greenhouse. If researchers persist in bringing in insect pests, they may be asked to incur the costs of pest control or they may be asked to use another campus greenhouse.

B. Pest scouting is conducted every week. A pest control program is based on pest scouting. Greenhouses to be sprayed are displayed on a large chalkboard in the new section of the WSGH and on a smaller dry erase board in the older section of the WSGH. The location of these notice boards is shown to all greenhouse users during the greenhouse orientation. The greenhouse staff will contact researchers individually if they need to apply pesticides in the King Hall greenhouse or at West Madison.

C. If a pest is observed in the greenhouse, the greenhouse staff may spray the greenhouse to control pests.   If there is a scientific reason not to control pests in that greenhouse (insect feeding trials, etc) the greenhouse staff will defer spraying of that greenhouse.

D. Control measures involving pesticide spraying are regularly scheduled for Monday, 3:00-7:30 p.m. Notification of the regularly scheduled pesticide spray times is posted throughout the greenhouse. However, greenhouse users should be aware that unforeseen circumstances do arise that cause pesticide spraying to run later than 7:30 p.m. or at times other than the above designated spray days.

E. Periodically, the greenhouse staff applies pesticides between 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. This typically involves granular products, soil drenches or spraying of a low toxicity pesticide in a single house.

F. All pesticide applications are documented on a Pesticide Application Record form. This form is posted for a minimum of 30 days at the “Pesticides Applied at this Facility Within the Last 30 Days” folder, which is located just outside the west end of the office. Additionally, a logbook of all sprays is kept in the office; this book shows the spray history for each individual greenhouse. Ask staff if you have any questions or concerns regarding pesticide applications.

G. Greenhouse users may not spray pesticides at the WSGH, for any reason, at any time without prior consent of the greenhouse managers. All WPS regulations must be followed by anyone applying pesticides at the facility.

H. In compliance with Federal law, no one may be in an individual greenhouse while pesticides are being sprayed. We strongly advise all researchers to vacate the entire facility while pesticides are being sprayed in order to avoid any possible exposure and thus provide the highest level of safety.

I. Beginning around 3:00 p.m. on Monday, standard WPS warning signs are posted at each entrance of greenhouses scheduled for chemical spraying. These signs remain posted for the length of the longest reentry interval (REI) of the products being sprayed. Typically, all warning signs are removed by 7:30 a.m. the morning following a spray application.

J. There are numerous factors that are considered when determining which control program to undertake. The primary ones are the pest encountered and the plant material on which it was found.

K. Pest control programs utilized at the WSGH rely on application of chemical products or the release of biological control agents as well as good sanitary practices. Most of the programs call for repeated applications of pesticides in order to achieve effective control. Control programs involving the release of biological agents are being evaluated for their effectiveness.

L. To help avoid possible phytotoxicity to research materials, all pesticide products are tested on the most sensitive varieties of plant materials before use on research plants.

M. In order to comply with State policy, all pesticides needed for research purposes at the greenhouse, coldframes or field are required to be secured in an approved pesticide storage room. The WSGH maintains a pesticide storage room for safekeeping of all pesticides used in the pest control programs or needed for research projects.

 

WORKER PROTECTION STANDARD TRAINING

A. Worker Protection Standard (WPS) training is required by Federal law of anyone who works within any of the campus greenhouses. Even those who expect to spend only a few weeks in the greenhouses must receive WPS training.

B. WPS training provides information to help insure worker safety while in the greenhouse. It takes approximately 90 minutes to complete and does not involve taking a test. Once completed, certification is valid for five (5) years.

C. Certification should be obtained prior to starting work in the greenhouse. The WSGH staff conduct WPS training sessions. Training session times are flexible so as to be as convenient as possible.

D. Failure to obtain WPS certification may result in loss of access to the greenhouses.

E. All users of the WSGH are expected to comply with WPS regulations, WSGH pest control policies and WSGH safety procedures.

 

FIELD USE

A. WSGH staff will designate the location of field plots.   The maximum plot size should be no greater than one-third (30%) of the available field size and preferably smaller.

B. In conjunction with West Madison Agricultural Research Station, the field will have manure applied and plowed in during the fall. Spring preparation consists of rototilling.

C. A limited irrigation set up is available with five (5) days advance notice.

D. Researchers are responsible for keeping their plots weed-free and in an orderly condition. All biological aspects of the research, including watering, are the responsibility of the researchers.

E. WSGH staff will maintain unassigned areas in the field by rototilling, sowing a cover crop or applying herbicides.

F. Field research is expected to be completed by October 1st unless prior arrangements have been made with the greenhouse manager. All stakes, cages, hoses and other equipment should be completely removed by October 1st.

 

 KING HALL (SOILS) GREENHOUSE

A. All policies and procedures established for the WSGH complex also apply to the Soils (King Hall) Greenhouse.

B. Special attention must be given to plant watering in the Soils Greenhouse because of the possibility of water leaking onto the laboratory space below the houses. Therefore, any excess water on the greenhouse or headhouse floors must be swept to the floor drains.

C. Water must be turned off at the faucet each time a researcher is finished watering. Using a shut off valve to turn the water off could result in a ruptured hose and the flooding of that part of King Hall. Failure to use the faucet when shutting off the water could result in a fine up to the cost of the damages.

 

WEST MADISON GREENHOUSES

A. The West Madison greenhouses, located at 8502 Mineral Point Road, on the far west side of Madison are available for general use. The complex consists of two greenhouses that are each 40 by 100 feet and have a combined bench space of 4400 square feet. These greenhouses have strong evaporative cooling, powerful heating, computerized temperature control and modern metal-mesh benches. A watering service is available from Monday to Friday for no charge. The greenhouses do not have divisions and the greenhouse interior is of the open span type.

The West Madison Greenhouses are managed in exactly the same manner as the other CALS research greenhouses. Distance to this greenhouse is about 7 miles from the Walnut Street Greenhouse on the UW campus.

 For a campus building emergency, dial the Central Answering and Response Service (CARS) at 3-3333 (608-263-3333). If CARS does not answer, dial zero to be transferred to the contracted call center. That center is able to relay critical information quickly.