What kinds of contract research does GardenGenetics do? Controlled environment trials

One of the more unique aspects of G2's research facility is that our 20,000 SF greenhouse range is subdivided into 8 distinct zones, each environmentally isolated, and each controlled by our very sophisticated Argus environmental control software system. 

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We decided early on in our planning that we wanted to be able to breed for performance under specific environmental conditions.  This demanded a good control system, in addition to multiple layers of heating / cooling / ventilation in the research greenhouses.  But still ... there is a large gap between planning / design and actual operational capabilities.  You decide to make a large investment in facilities infrastructure, and then can't know if it will actually work as designed for months to years. 

I can happily say that the systems we installed work.  Actually, they work far beyond our expectations. 

Our best example to date has been a complex environmental trial which we conducted for a client.  The crop was poinsettias, and the trial ran as a typical holiday crop for a retail grower.  Nine inch pots were stuck with a single-rooted cutting in August, and grown under a typical poinsettia protocol. 

Plants were grown as a standard holiday poinsettia crop (70F days / 68F nights) until 1 October 2008, then every two weeks, a subset of pots was moved into one of two cooler-than-average (and night) temperature zones. As the poinsettias came into holiday color, we took data on a weekly basis.

Our client learned a tremendous amount about the performance of their commercial varieties, of their experimental lines, and of their competitors' commercial varieties.  It was clear that our client has been breeding for energy-efficient poinsettias: poinsettias which can be grown at an average temperature 5 to 8 degrees F cooler than "normal".  More significantly, these same varieties can be grown at a minimum night temperature of 58 F, at least 10 degrees cooler than many growers run their poinsettia crops at night.

What did G2 learn?  We learned that we can operate adjacent greenhouse zones 2 to 3 degrees apart, and easily maintain that difference.  This means that we can breed a crop for a particular environmental condition, in season or out.  For example, if we wanted to breed tomatoes for low-light low-temperature performance (conditions experienced in a high tunnel in early spring or late fall), we could do both the breeding and trialing in our existing greenhouse facilities. 

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G2's ability to push a crop's environmental envelope (while retaining both control and data collection abilities), and then select for performance at the edges of that envelope, provides our clients with a significant opportunity to develop new varieties bred specifically for those extreme conditions.  Do you need to minimize a vernalization requirement in a crop?  We can help you do just that.  Do you need to select for day-neutral performance?  We can help, year-round. 

What else might we be able to do for you using our sophisticated environmental controls?  Please contact us to discuss your trialing needs.  We look forward to responding to your Requests for Proposal (RFPs) re controlled environment trials and selection.