The outer shell of the new greenhouse is already complete. As Martin Böttcher, head of the family-owned nursery in Elster told the Mitteldeutsche Zetung, it consists of double glass panes next to the supporting light metal construction. "Similar to thermal windows."
In August, the old greenhouse, which stood on the same site, was demolished. The construction of the modern successor began in September. Katja and Martin Böttcher expect the new building to be completed by the end of January or the beginning of February. "Some of the heating is already running," the owner describes the state of affairs. "The interior work is thus possible to be finished at a comfortable temperature.”
The Böttchers have placed the direction for the construction of the new "glass palace" in the hands of Mike Fötsch from Dresden. The latter in turn makes use of Dutch subcontractors. Martin Böttcher estimates the total cost of the project at around 200,000 euros, including the interior fittings with heating, energy screen (fabric under the glass roof), tables, irrigation/drainage and paving.
Of course, he tries to build as inexpensive as possible. Some used elements are re-used and a lot of work is done by the company itself - for example, paving the future sales area. The five people at the nursery, including the two owners, also worked on the heating, irrigation and drainage systems themselves. As with the demolition of the old greenhouse and various other preliminary work.
"The new greenhouse, the foundations for it and the installation of the energy screen (for darkening) were taken over by the company from the Netherlands," reports the owner of the nursery. "It only took days," he says admiringly.
Nevertheless, there’s also bad news: "Unfortunately, we didn't find suitable funding for our project," Martin Böttcher confesses sadly, only to continue defiantly: "We will just work it out ourselves and then we don't have to say thank you to anyone.”
The Elsterian admits, however, that there are possibilities of obtaining funding for a greenhouse construction. "But all in all these ways are too complicated and simply not feasible for us." There would be no justifiable relationship between effort and reward.
Nevertheless, Katja and Martin Böttcher are anything but resigned. They are optimistic about the future: from mid-February they want to use the new building for ongoing production. Geraniums will move in there and next year's poinsettias will start in July. They also want to relocate sales to the new greenhouse in spring.
In addition, they plan to continue the renovation of the greenhouse step by step. "Just as our finances allow," Martin Böttcher gives as a guideline. "By the time we retire, we have thoroughly renovated everything," adds his mischievous wife Katja.
From the 1960s
Nursery Böttcher operates a total of nine greenhouses, i.e. around 4,500 covered square metres. Apart from the new building, the whole complex dates back to the 1960s, so the ravages of time have already taken their toll. By the way, the "glass palaces" are heated with district heating from the neighbouring biogas plant of Seydaland Agrarbetriebe. "Thus we cover the basic load", Martin Böttcher explains. "Additionally we have our own wood chip heating."
Surface area gained
The old greenhouse measured 42 by 6 metres, remembers the head of the nursery very precisely. The successor building now measures around 36 by 19 metres, which represents a very significant increase in space. The starting point for any such project is a grid system with three basic types, explains the Elster expert. One variant of this has a width of 9.60 metres and a variable length. And that's what was chosen here. However, the Böttchers have placed two such “greenhouse ships” next to each other.
Primroses success poinsettias
The festivities are over and the annual poinsettia business is slowly but surely coming to an end at the Elsterian nursery. As of January, Katja and Martin Böttcher predict, the first primroses, shells with spring flowers and bulbous plants such as hyacinths, daffodils, tulips and the like are in demand. "Not to forget snowdrops, of course," notes Martin Böttcher and adds: "If we can’t get any snow, at least we have snowdrops. The fact that it got warmer again at Christmas is now almost typical."
For the 4th and 5th of May 2019 Böttchers are preparing their traditional day of “open nursery”, this time with the official inauguration of their new greenhouse. "All those interested can visit," says Katja Böttcher, announcing that the open day will be adapted to the changed structural conditions. "We are restructuring, a lot will be found in new places."