Purdue’s Horticulture Plant Growth Facility includes 25 greenhouse rooms totaling 34,800 sq. ft., 2 air-conditioned growth rooms, 17 growth chambers, 5 walk-in coolers, a tissue culture laboratory, three teaching laboratories, and 4,500 sq. ft. of headhouse space for offices, work space and storage. These greenhouses are host to hundreds of experiments every year, using crops and other plants to extend our knowledge of our natural world. These studies can have implications for topics as wide ranging as pharmaceutical treatments, pollution and conservation, food safety, and crop and livestock agriculture, among countless others. And Purdue’s excellent facilities are just one of many similar teaching and research greenhouses across the nation and the world. So what happens if an experimental plant dies of something as mundane as overwatering? Money and time are wasted, and no progress is made toward discovery.
This is what Purdue’s Plant Growth Facilities staff work to prevent. Facilities Manager Robert Eddy and his staff know plants, and have performed rigorous research themselves. Their goal is to determine the best way to grow the plants most commonly used by researchers. In this way, they can ensure that the experiments conducted in the greenhouses is as effective as possible, and not tainted by any challenges unrelated to the goal of the study. And since the primary goal of a research institution like Purdue is to disseminate knowledge, this valuable information was not intended solely for the use of our own scientists.
Purdue’s Scholarly Publishing Services provides a way for Eddy and his staff to make sure their knowledge of plant growth and greenhouse methods reaches anyone who needs it. Purdue’s Plant Growth Facility repository contains over 50 documents relating to three plants commonly used for research, and answers questions about pests and parasites, the best sorts of containers and soils, fertilizers and lights, and even how best to harvest the plants for study. And like any document in Purdue e-Pubs, each is free to access from anywhere in the world, and optimized to be easily discoverable in an internet search.
Browse the Plant Growth Facility’s Publications: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/greenhouse/