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Greenhouse business in Arroyo Grande running unique operation

Trays with tiny squares, each square being filled with nutrient rich soil, with a seed put in each one.

It's a part of Greenheart Farm's massive greenhouse operation. Every year, they ship 6 million garden roses, 3 million berry plants, and 5 million reclamation plants for the government. But the big one is the 1 billion vegetable transplants each year they grow for farmers. Vegetables are grown into a seedling and shipped to a farmer to plant in their field. The advantage for farmers is huge.

KCOY Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo - News

"That means every plant they plant is going to be alive. If they did seed, and they seeded that crop in the field, it could succumb to disease, it can be eaten by birds, they would have to water it much more frequently, they would have to spray it with pesticides much more frequently," says Bill DeVor, general manager at Greenheart Farms.

Farmers who let the early growing happen in the greenhouse cut their water bill and pesticide bill by 30 percent.

"Every bit of our water that hits our growing trays is being used by a plant. Whereas in the field, there's a lot of ground that's being covered. That water is just going to the ground, it's evaporating. Or it's just going into a furrow and running off," says DeVor.

Greenheart Farm's name is fitting. Almost every facet of their operation is environmentally friendly and sustainable, from using recycled material for their planting trays, to capturing rain water in gutter fixtures that dump into an underground vault. Their hope is that other agricultural businesses follow suit.

"We tell ourselves that we are feeding and beautifying the world, helping heal the world, and helping take things that have been done a certain way for a long long time and making them better," says DeVor.


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