Greenhouse Operational Procedures

As of 10/1/2018, the Greenhouse Cost Center operates as a self-service facility, providing standard pots, and pest control but not watering. Maintenance and operations of the greenhouse facility continue to be supported by the cost center and/or CELS staff.

Requesting Space

New Users:  If a user is new to the Cost Center, they should please contact Tim Sherman at (401) 533-8587 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for assistance in identifying space that best fits their needs and will be available for the time frame needed.

Current Users:  For current users of the Cost Center, it is strongly recommended that they contact Tim Sherman or another member of the greenhouse staff for assistance with needed changes to their greenhouse space. This will prevent confusion or potential future conflict regarding space. Don Timpson and Gabrielle Torphy are available to help.


A survey of the utilized space will be undertaken on a regular basis and users will be billed for the space they use during the calendar month. Users are asked to notify staff of changes. Not all users enter the space at the same time and every attempt will be made to prorate space for the actual days used in a billing period.

Cost Structure

The cost per square foot of greenhouse space is currently set at $0.75 per square foot, per month for educators and researchers, $1.15 for private growers. Please note that space in the greenhouse is allocated and billed per block for ease of calculation. Blocks range in size from 7.5 ft2 to 16ft2, with additional larger spaces also existing. Regardless of how much space is used within a block, users will be billed for the total number of blocks they occupy, not by the square footage their plants occupy. Billable spaces include bench tops and directly under benches; all other floor space is to be kept clear.

Reserved and Special Space

As a University facility, researchers and educators receive top priority for space. Their projects may have unique needs such as supplemental lighting, shade cloth, whitewash, special protocols, etc. and greenhouse space will be assigned to priority users based on those needs. Although greenhouse staff will do their best to avoid space conflicts, users occupying space needed by priority users will be required to move their plants temporarily or permanently.


Greenhouse space is intended for the production and maintenance of plants.  While it is understood that setting up and taking down experiments often requires additional bench space, such space should be used on a temporary basis (less than a week).  Bench space should not be used as permanent storage for media, pots or other equipment.  If bench space is being used for long-term storage, it will be billed to the user as though it were occupied by plants.

Watering and Weeding

All watering of greenhouse plants is the responsibility of individual users.  Because the greenhouse is self-service, users must ensure the care of their own plants. In addition, users should make every effort to keep weeds under their benches to a minimum. To keep costs down, greenhouse staffing is minimal and weeding is critical to prevent the spread of disease and insects. Pots and flats should be filled in the soil room, not in the greenhouse, to avoid getting soil in the gravel under the benches

Disease and Pest Management

Greenhouse staff will manage disease and insect populations through Integrated Pest Management practices. Plants that come into the greenhouse from outside sources may be infested with insects or diseases. It is strongly recommended that users thoroughly inspect their plants prior to movement into the greenhouse to ensure they do not spread insects or pathogens throughout the houses.

Users are responsible for pest monitoring and initiating requests for control measures by contacting Greenhouse Manager Tim Sherman at (401) 533-8587.  If a user’s plants are heavily infested, they may be removed from the greenhouse, treated with pesticides within the greenhouses, or treated with pesticides outside the greenhouse. If staff deem the situation to be detrimental to plants of other greenhouse users, infested plants will be disposed of following a final warning.

If greenhouse users plan to treat their own plants for pests/pathogens rather than having greenhouse staff treat them, please follow these steps:

  • Inform the staff about what material will be applied.
  • Write the information in the pesticide log book found in the pesticide room in the GH building.  (date, applicators name, GH number, material/product applied, target pest & crop)
  • Post the same information at the door to the greenhouse which has been treated, including time and Re-entry time if applicable.
  • Clean and return any equipment used to pesticide room.


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