Our Tropical Greenhouse

TropicalGreenhouse

June 2014

Solar Innovations, Inc.’s greenhouse recently began to produce fruit. Watch time lapse video of the “heart” dropping during this process.

October 2013

Solar Innovations is raising a papaya tree inside a greenhouse.  The tree was transplanted from a container into the ground this year. In past years, the tree produced one or two blooms, but since being transplanted, it created 10 blooms.  This weekend, the blooms turned into fruit.  Heating and cooling is provided to the greenhouse, which keeps a comfortable interior environment year round for the tree.

October 2013

Inside a heated greenhouse, tropical plants can be grown regardless of location.  Pennsylvania often has severe winters with snow, ice, and frigid temperatures.  With the help of a warm greenhouse, a papaya tree grows year round.  Inside the greenhouse the temperatures never fall below 55-60 at night, which is ideal for papaya trees. In years to come, the tree will reach 7-10 feet in height and will continue to produce fruit.

September 2013

Solar Innovations Inc. is currently growing a palm tree in a display conservatory.  The tree is being raised at Solar’s manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania.  Inside the conservatory, the temperature is always in the 70′s to 80′s during the day, and lower at night.  The tree receives dappled sunshine, heat, and water.

August 2013

Solar Innovations is raising a pineapple in a display greenhouse at their manufacturing facility.  The pineapple grows in a heated and cooled greenhouse, year round.  This is the second generation of fruit the plant has produced.  In a few weeks, the fruit will begin to ripen.

Fried Bananas from Greenhouse

July 2013

Solar Innovations has several display greenhouses at their manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania.  Inside the greenhouse are tropical plants, such as banana trees, which grow year round thanks to heating and cooling.  Each year, the banana trees produce a set of fruit.  This year, there were three trees giving bananas.  Eventually, you run out of motivation for eating more bananas straight off the tree, and the solution is to make a dish.  We made fried bananas.  A Solar employee made a simple batter, coated sliced bananas, and fried them in hot oil.  The bananas had a light breading and tasted close to crepes or donuts.

July 2013

Solar Innovations is constantly raising bananas.  The trees live inside a heated greenhouse located at the manufacturing headquarters.  Year round heating and cooling allow the banana trees to thrive in cold Pennsylvania weather.  It takes two years to raise a banana to maturity at which point it blooms.  After the bloom appears, it takes nine more months for the fruit to grow and ripen.  Bananas picked right off the tree taste the same as ones from the grocery store, but are fatter.

Growing Bananas

June 2013

This hanging basket did not have a coconut shell.  The coconut wore through in several spots last year, but the basket was still in good condition.  Our solution was to line the basket with newspaper. As it deteriorates, new paper will be added along with moss to hold the shape and soil.

January 2013

Solar Innovations has been producing bananas in our greenhouses for three years. We have two banana trees currently producing fruit and decided we would like to experiment with additional varieties. Three banana species were purchased from Florida, which will remain smaller in statue and take up less space: a Supreme Dwarf, Pink Velvet, and an Ice Cream Banana.

October 2012

Have you ever ate a fresh watermelon in winter? The majority of people have not.  Watermelons are reserved for summer.  Solar is trying an experiment right now to grow a watermelon in the greenhouse over winter.  We failed at our first two attempts but have succeeded on our third try.  Our watermelons started blooming the end of September, and we hand pollinated the plants.  There are now two small fruits beginning the size of a golf ball.  The difference this year was more fertilizer and grow lights to extend the daylight hours.

August 2012

Inside our greenhouse, we have a papaya tree growing. It continually grows around three feet each year. We are amazed at the rate of growth. The tree is incredibly disease resistant. The greenhouse has had white flies and scale, but the papaya tree has not suffered any damage to date. The trees is growing in warm temperatures, around 80-85 degrees year round, with humidity around 50%.

MarchOrchid

March 2012

The heliconia in the pond room has bloomed. This is a tropical flower which we have grown in a terra cotta flower pot. The plant was purchased off a clearance rack and promptly decided to die. There was nothing left in the container last winter, but I continued to water in hopes of it returning. Sure enough, last spring it grew. Then it continued to grow the entire summer and has given us a bloom in spring. The plant has a brilliant red and yellow bloom.

PondRoomSnow

DecemberTropical

NovemberTropical
November 2011
Solar Innovations, Inc.’s Oranges
Solar Innovations, Inc. recently grew many ripe oranges. The fruit matured for months in our Tropical Greenhouse. After months of anticipation, employees harvested and enjoyed the fresh fruit.


TropicalOctober

TropicalOctoberBananaAugust 2011
Solar Innovations, Bananas mature
Solar Innovations grows banana trees in their greenhouses. The time from the tree’s bloom to the last banana being harvested was nine months. We just finished picking the last bananas off a tree this month, with a grand total of 89 bananas coming from one tree. An interesting fact about banana trees is that after each tree has finished producing fruit, it dies. The tree produces off shoots, which take over and produce the next round of fruit. Banana trees give off many new shoots and trees. Here at Solar, we are constantly thinning the next generation, because we do not have ample room for all the trees. Shown in the picture is the next generation of banana trees to give us fruit. A close look will show koi fish in the pond, which fertilize the trees and water loving plants.

JulyTropical

July 2011
Solar’s Summer Garden Harvest
The summer garden is now ending. This year we were excited by the produce that was successfully grown. No one had ever had a vegetable garden, so we were not sure what to expect. The outcome was pleasantly surprising. We had corn, peppers, lettuce, beans, cabbage, and cantaloupe. The yields were not the largest, but it was a great learning experience. Next year, the garden will be planted earlier which will produce larger yields. After this garden is finished, compost will be added for the spring’s garden.

JuneTropical

June 2011
Solar Innovations, Inc.’s Trellis System
Solar Innovations offers two trellis systems for use in a greenhouse. The trellises are constructed out of aluminum, which will not rot, warp, crack, or fade like traditional wooden or plastic trellises. Solar’s trellises can be stacked, attaining any desired height, or be one solid unit. At Solar Innovations Inc.’s greenhouse, there is a stacked trellis currently in bloom. A mandevilla is grown up the trellis and is blooming red and pink.

MayTropical

AprilTropicalOrangesApril 2011
Orange Trees Begin to Develop
In our tropical greenhouse here at Solar Innovations, Inc., we have several fruit trees. Over Christmas, the kumquat tree gave us fruit. Now our orange tree started to develop flowers. Next week the flowers will probably open and bloom. Many orange varieties need to be pollinated by insects. Inside a greenhouse there is little chance of natural pollination happening. This means I will have to hand pollinate the orange blooms. If they take, fruit will appear anywhere from six months to a year.

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