It’s always exciting when the warmer weather arrives but it’s also an incredibly hectic time for commercial greenhouse growers. Here are five ways to prepare for spring that will help to make your busy season run more smoothly.
1. Stock up on your shipping and production supplies early
Now is the time to take stock of your supply inventory and order shipping materials so that you’re prepared for the rapid influx of spring orders. There’s nothing worse than having to scramble to find shipping materials when you’re in the middle of a large order. It’s not uncommon for packaging suppliers to frequently run out of product closer to the spring when every other grower is trying to purchase the same supplies. It’s just as important to make sure you’re stocked up and ready with the necessary production supplies you need such as benches. The earlier prepared you are with supplies, the smoother the production and shipping season will be.
2. Is your staff prepared and up for the challenge?
It would be impossible to get through the busy season without well-prepared and knowledgeable staff and since production starts to beef up now, it’s a good idea to begin hiring staff within the next few weeks and well before Easter weekend to ensure staff is trained and prepared before things really begin to pick up. It’s important that staff is aware that the work is considerably physical, usually requiring long days and weekend work. It’s equally important to make sure that both regular and seasonal employees are flexible and willing to take on responsibilities that don’t necessarily align with their everyday role to help when you have tight deadlines for multiple large orders.
3. End of winter maintenance
The last thing you want to be doing when your top priority is getting orders to customers is repairing broken equipment. Performing regular and preventive maintenance within your greenhouse is the best way to avoid any hiccups during the busy months caused by damaged equipment. A good starting point is to do a walk around of the inside and outside perimeters of your structures to look for any damage such as broken glass, cracks or holes. If your structure is in good shape, your other systems will work the way they’re supposed to. Monitor your cooling systems before it is needed for peak season. You should be checking to see that your pumps are working properly as well as any other parts of your cooling system. You should also have your shading and blackout curtains serviced before spring as they become vitally important for flowers needing short-day conditions during the long days of spring and summer.
4. Review your climate controls
Instead of waiting until the warmer weather arrives, have plans in place that remind you ahead of time when climate controls need to be tweaked. Chances are when the changes are required; your workload has drastically increased. Day lengths and temperatures change, settings for venting shading and blackout all need to be adjusted to meet the changing climate conditions. Keeping records from previous years will aid in this changeover.
5. Spring cleaning
Or in this case, end-of-winter cleaning, but it’s better to make sure all work spaces or retail spaces are clutter free before the spring season. Clutter has a way accumulating quickly and it can be very difficult to manage once it’s gotten out of control, which will inevitably interfere with productivity. Clutter can refer to physical items that pile up including paperwork or equipment that needs to be cleaned, but it can also refer to the ever-accumulating to-do list that seems to pile up just as quickly. It’s important to determine the cause of the clutter and prioritize from there. Try tackling smaller and simpler tasks first and move toward decluttering larger messes afterwards.