The UNH Macfarlane Research Greenhouses provided a warm and lush escape from the spring snow showers outside on Friday and Saturday during the annual Spring Greenhouse Open House.

On Friday, March 31, researchers with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station discussed their research at the Macfarlane Greenhouse from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Saturday’s snow did not stop the open house from staying open to the public. Though the bus for the high tunnels tour was unavailable, those with their own transportation were still invited to come by for the tour.

Presenters lined the inside of the greenhouse with flyers, posters and plenty of greenery, showcasing their research and findings.

Along with the educational displays, lectures were held in Putnam Hall, across the street from the greenhouse.

Dr. Todd Guerdat, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, held a workshop on How to Make your Own Aquaponic System. The hands-on activity was geared towards children of all ages.

In addition to all of the educational resources about local agriculture and aesthetically pleasing landscape displays, the greenhouse included the Greenhouse Café. The café offered drinks, snacks and small lunches at a low cost.

The event proved to be popular for people of all ages and members of the community, including researchers, faculty and local farmers, as well as students from UNH and those passionate about agriculture.

Some of the day’s research presentations included: kiwiberry development in New England, plant improvement in the three major economically important species of squash and pumpkin, and controlled environment agriculture systems. There were over a dozen different presentations to choose from as you made your way through the greenhouse.

Other presentations dealt with native species and invasive species, breeding Asian  strawberries and genetic mechanisms of resistance of wheat stem rust in barberry.

“It was wicked cool. I had no idea that there was that much at the greenhouse. It was beautiful. I’m personally not really into agriculture or anything, but it was fun to just walk around and see everything,” UNH student Katelyn Caswell said. 

“I think it’s important to see the hard work that the UNH agriculture students put into their classes and work in the greenhouse,” Caswell said.

2017 has been named the “year of the Brassica,” according to The National Garden Bureau. Brassica plants include cabbage, turnip, kale and broccoli. These particular plants were displayed and admired by many of the visitors during the event.

The 25,000 square feet greenhouse is dedicated to research and teaching associated with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station and the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, and includes the Thompson School of Applied Science greenhouses as well.

During the open house, the Thompson School of Applied Science had plants for sale for the public, including the popular air plants, which do not need soil to develop. 

Formal tours of the greenhouse are offered annually during the Spring Open House. During other times, individuals and groups of up to five people can visit the greenhouse anytime during regular hours. The hours of operation are: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The greenhouse is closed on Sundays.