BEST OF 2019
In this first edition of 2020 we are revisiting the two most popular articles of 2019 from the Grower2Grower e-magazine. ‘Guy Morgan, Seedling Systems’ was the most well-read Grower Profile article of 2019. I had a brief catch up with Guy before Christmas and was very happy with the new improvements and efficiencies to his business.
New High Tech Greenhouse Nursery Purpose Built For Outdoor Growers
“This is why I get up in the morning”
This story is an inspiring insight to what can be achieved with hard graft, innovation and an amazing work ethic demonstrated by another New Zealand greenhouse grower. Guy Morgan, owner and head grower of Seedling Systems, has recently commisioned a brand new 4000 m2 Apex Greenhouse structure, internally fitted out with a rolling bench system for growing vegetable seedlings for outdoor growers. When you walk into the greenhouse you see that no expense has been spared with this magnificent setup.
How it started:
Guy was Born in 1965, raised in Featherston and attended Kuranui College in the Wairarapa District. How Guy became involved in growing vegetable seedlings is a fantastic story in itself. Guy’s grandmother was an ardent gardener and from a very early age taught him how to grow plants. From the age of 5 Guy would grow seedlings in old ice cream containers and sell them. Guy fondly remembers having a little brief case which he would carry his money in. When he was older, he worked in local orchards fruit picking and mowed lawns to earn extra money. When he finished college he went on to Massey University, where he completed a Hort Science Degree from 1983 to 1986.
Guy’s first job, after completing his degree, was with a greenhouse flower grower in Katikati, growing Gypsophila and Orchids. In 1988 a position became available at Gardenza. Guy had worked there as part of his practical work experience, during holidays, while studying at university. He continued to work at Gardenza for the next five years. In 1990, while working at Gardenza, Guy purchased the property next door and built some plastic houses where he started to grow his own Gypsophila. He juggled working at Gardenza, during the day, and working on his flowers at night and on the weekends until 1993. He was then making enough money from his flowers that he was in a position to leave his role at Gardenza and work for himself fulltime.
In the mid 1990’s Guy built more growing area, in the form of plastic houses, and his family home. He kept growing flowers until the early 2000’s. In 1997 a horticulture trade fair was held at Alexandra Park. It was at this fair he saw a seedling machine. Guy saw an opportunity, and from here the decision to grow seedlings was made. He started off growing young plants for other flower growers, and this slowly developed to propagating vegetable seedlings for outdoor growers. Since the inception of growing seedlings, the business has totally transformed. Old plastic houses were removed and replaced with modern glasshouse structures and most recently the brand-new glasshouse, with purpose-built germination rooms and rolling benches, has been built. Seedling Systems now has over 15,500 m2 of covered area for propagation. There is over 1 ha in glasshouses and 0.5 ha in plastic houses.
The new glasshouse, and attached shed, has a brand-new Urbinati seeding machine as well as a purpose-built germination room. The intention is to change more area from static benches to rolling benches that have been installed by KG Bench Systems in the new glasshouse.
Guy employs over 20 staff. Many of the staff are local to the Glenbrook area. The new mechanising and expansion of his business will continue to help this business grow. Seedling Systems can house over 10 million plants in the peak of summer. There is a very large product range. Approximately 85% of the seedlings propagated by Seedling Systems are for outdoor vegetable growers. They grow tomatoes and cucumber plants for greenhouse vegetable growers as well as flowering plants which is increasing. Potato and kumara trials, raising kiwifruit and growing new products such as Miscanthus grass are just a few more plant species Seedling System grow. To find out more about products grown by Seedling Systems go to the website http://www.seedlingsystems.co.nz/
Guy has worked extremely hard, and continues working long hours, seven days a week. It is obvious growing is a passion, his enthusiasm and positivity is evident. Building his new high tech rolling bench system certainly sends positive signals to the industry. Outdoor growers will be highly impressed with the new facility and the quality of the plants grown by Guy and his team. Guy is positive about the future of growing and continuing his partnerships with all growers for many years to come.
This photo (above) is the main transport area for the rolling benches on the main path in the new glasshouse. You will also be able to see the irrigation booms running the length of the greenhouse in 8 metre runs
Guy has banked with the BNZ for most of his life. The BNZ have been an integral partner in the growth and success of Seedling Systems. This partnership is just another example of working together and the BNZ’s continued expansion and support of the horticulture sector . Peter Butler, Agri Businees Manager from the BNZ in Pukekohe has a close working relationship with Guy and is getting a first hand look at the new Urbanati seeding machine. The second to be installed on the property.
The brand new Urbinati seeding machine
The new germination room can have the benches stacked on top of each other to maximise the use of the space. F-Tek, from Pukekohe, designed and built the lifter that inserts and removes the benches from the germination room. Just another example of Kiwi’s working and supporting each other’s businesses.
All of the plants are watered using automatic overhead booms. It is a well thought out and designed system that if you get the chance you should go and see.
The new glasshouse is quickly filling up. Mainly Brassicas are in the picture above. Below the first lot of vegetable plants that were seeded are now coming out into the open to be hardened of before being delivered to outdoor growers.
The final touches are being completed to the outside of the greenhouse. This new 300,000 litre water storage tank just one of the new additions to the property.
Above and below are photos of Miscanthus Miscanthus x giganteus grass. It is a product that is being used increasingly throughout the world as a purpose-grown bioenergy crop as well as multiple uses in farming, as a feed and for shelter. This is a very exciting product which can be used for so many different purposes. It is only a matter of time before its commercial benefits are realised. Guy will split cut and split the root systems too multiply production.
Seedling Systems supplies many plants to council for public gardens. These violas are just one example.
Guy now has four large trucks to deliver the seedlings. He has always been interested in transport and if he had not become a grower would have been involved in the transport industry.
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Article Written by Stefan Vogrincic, Consultant, Grower2Grower
Article Edited by Marie Vogrincic, Editor, Grower2Grower