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Greenhouses & Experimental Garden

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Controlled Research in Plant Biology

The Harvard Forest has greenhouses, shade houses, and a common garden available for research projects that require more controlled conditions than those provided by the surrounding forests and fields. Requests for greenhouse, shade house, or garden space should be made in the Research Application Form, and will be reviewed as they are received. Contact Aaron Ellison for more detailed information on these facilities.

Greenhouses:

Students working in GreenhouseTwo greenhouses are available for research - the Torrey Lab greenhouse and the Shaler greenhouse.

The Torrey Lab greenhouse is Harvard Forest's facility for experiments that require tightly controlled greenhouse conditions. The Torrey Lab greenhouse was upgraded in 2004 with funds from NSF through the Field Stations and Marine Laboratories (FSML) program. This greenhouse consists of two independent modules, each approximately 750 square feet (69 square meters), with tempered safety glass and 10 40-square foot (3.7 square meters) benches. Each module has computer controllers to regulate temperature, moisture (humidity), light, and shade, and automatic watering, venting, and cooling systems. One additional channel is available in each computer controller for additional environmental control (e.g., CO2). Environmental conditions in each module are logged at 15-minute intervals; data logs can be accessed via the internet and/or permanently stored. Space is allocated on a per-bench basis; see the fee schedule for rates.

Shaler GreenhouseThe Shaler greenhouse is a four-season utility greenhouse for experiments that require heat in winter, but do not need tightly controlled environmental conditions. This greenhouse was built in 2004 with funds from NSF through the Field Stations and Marine Laboratories (FSML) program. The greenhouse is a single module, approximately 320 square feet (30 square meters) with three 60-square-foot benches (5.6 square meter). This greenhouse has energy-efficient radiant floor heat, but no automatic cooling, watering, or automatic vents (roof vents are operated manually), and environmental conditions are not monitored. Space is allocated on a square meter basis; see the fee schedule for rates.

Shade houses: 

Hoop Houses
Two shade houses are available for three-season research in ambient environmental conditions. The shade houses were built in 2004 with funds from NSF through the Field Stations and Marine Laboratories (FSML) program. The shade houses are located adjacent to Lyford House, are each 200 square feet (18.5 square meters) in area, and are 15 feet (4.5 meters) high, making them excellent spaces for working with tree seedlings and saplings. They were built using hemlock harvested and milled on-site, and the lathing provides 50% shade. Each house is fenced to keep out deer and other large mammals. Electric power is available at the adjacent utility shed, which is conveniently located between the shade houses and the common garden. Space is allocated by the square meter; see the fee schedule for rates.

Common garden:

A 30 x 30m garden plot is available for three-season research in ambient environmental conditions. The common garden, established in 2003, is located adjacent to Lyford House and the shade houses, and is appropriately used for in-ground experiments. It has an electrified fenced to keep out deer and other large mammals. Current practice is to seed it with alfalfa in summer and with winter rye in fall to maintain vegetative cover and minimize erosion. Space is allocated by the square meter, and field preparation (plowing, disking, fertilizing, etc.) can be done by the Harvard Forest Woods Crew; see the fee schedule for rates.