Location – Gatton (QLD)
Pohlmans Nursery, located in Gatton, Queensland is one of Australia’s leading, innovative and largest plant producers. The nursery has been in operation since 1976 where numerous new technologies have been rigorously trialled and implemented to improve quality and efficiency of plant production. Pohlmans Nursery’s main products consist of potted flowers, indoor foliage, gourmet vegetables and fresh herbs, which are sent to over 1000 nurseries and garden centres across Australia. Pohlmans production consists of poly greenhouses, glasshouses, retractable shade, retractable greenhouses and open field. 17 years ago, Pohlmans invested in a Cravo A-Frame greenhouse/shadehouse which still stands today with the original roof covering in operation.
Pohlmans Nursery was looking into production systems that would allow the best growing method in a greenhouse with the benefits of exposing the plants to an open environment, thereby growing them more naturally. When asked about different production systems, owner Rob Pohlman commented: “current production systems, such as glass and poly structures only give us optimal conditions during the three winter months.” The challenge was to produce under a production system which gives optimal conditions 12 months of the year.
Cravo is the world leader for over 30 years in Retractable Roof greenhouse/shadehouse technology. Currently Cravo produce four different models to suit the whole range of application from field fruit and vegetable production to nursery and young plant production. In every case, the retractable roof houses have been installed in all climates and have withstood the extremes of heat, cold, hail, snow, wind, and rain. In all models, the Cravo retractable roof system allows crops to benefit from being grown in the natural outdoors, a greenhouse and a shadehouse while eliminating the negatives of each.
With the production area being extremely valuable in nursery situations, the ability to grow 12 months of the year under a Cravo A-Frame allows Pohlmans Nursery to maximise production while limit pot handling. Not only are plants protected year round but are also kept in optimal growing conditions without the need for fossil fuel heating. Under typical greenhouse production, plants are generally grown under the protection of a stationary roof, then moved outdoors to be hardened off. By simply moving the retractable roof, Pohlmans Nursery is able to naturally manipulate plant transpiration rates, therefore gaining an excellent balance between roots to shoot growth. This in turn significantly reduces labour and pot handling costs.
When asked how the house has performed over the years, Rob commented “ The best thing the house has done for us is protect our crops in the winter from -7°C temperatures, and in the summer from storms. Some of the worst weather included 100 KPH winds which snapped trees and produced hail the size of tennis balls. The 70mm hail stones broke tempered glass in an adjacent house which was designed for 50mm hail at 130 KPH but we had no damage at all to the Cravo roofs. From a maintenance point of view the house has been great! We have had very minimal maintenance over the last 17 years”.