The Drew Mathieson Center (DMC) is a 40,000 square foot urban greenhouse facility. The DMC is a ridge and furrow style greenhouse consisting of six gutter-connected A-frame spans, creating separate growing and work spaces within an integrated greenhouse production system.
The DMC greenhouse was constructed in conjunction with the neighboring Harbor Gardens Building, which is home to affiliates Bidwell Training Center (BTC) and the National Center of Arts And Technology (NCAT). The building was designed by J. A. Ammon & Associates of Baltimore, MD. Construction of the greenhouse began in October of 2001, and was completed by construction company PJ Dick in January of 2003. The DMC was awarded the Master Builders Association’s 2003 Building Excellence Award.
Customized Local Growing
Our hands-on artisanal approach to growing, along with the Argus environmental control system, allows us to program each house as a unique production zone. Under-bench heating, supplemental lighting, and enclosed germination chambers, provide the necessary amendments for winter and early spring crop production. While automated ridge vents, circulation fans, double shade cloths, and evaporative cooling pad systems create the proper climate control for continuous spring and summer growing.
Houses 1 and 3 are our seasonal production greenhouses. We grow early and late spring crops of hardy Hydrangea, annual hanging baskets are produced during spring and summer months, and hardy Hibiscus is grown for mid summer. We finish the year with traditional Poinsettias and Poinsettia topiaries during the winter holidays.
House 2 is used to produce herbs, vegetables, annuals, contract grown plants, educational materials, and trial crops. Plants are grown from seed and cuttings using the germination chambers in this house.
The Drew Mathieson Center is currently in the process of expanding our edible crop production to accommodate the growing interest in community and local food production.
House 4 is used primarily to produce our signature Phalaenopsis Orchids. Various ivies, ferns, and other tropical plants are also grown here. Our orchids, available year-round, are brought in on a bi-monthly basis and are grown between 9 and 15 weeks to develop flowering spikes and begin blooming. Each month’s orchid production ranges from around 400 to 700 orchids, depending on the time of year.
Both Bidwell Training Center’s Horticulture Technology students and DMC youth students use this greenhouse as a hands on learning and growing area. Students care for all plant material in this area. Topics of study include propagation, floral arrangement, plant anatomy, and landscape design.
This greenhouse is used by both Bidwell Training Center’s Horticulture Technology students and DMC youth students to learn about hydroponic growing systems and food production. Featured systems include Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), Dutch Bucket, Flood Table, and other custom built structures. Crops studied include tomatoes, basil, squash, and other vegetables.
Pest populations are a natural part of greenhouse production. At the Drew Mathieson Center we practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM). We utilize scouting and observation, Biological, Biorational, and OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) products as part of our ongoing dedication to reduce the use of chemical pesticides while providing high quality, locally grown plant material.