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UCCE Master Gardener Program
of San Mateo & San Francisco Counties
1500 Purisima Creek Road
Half Moon Bay, CA, 94019

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(650) 276-7430


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Project Open Hand (POH)

Basil seedlings in a Volksgarden®
Basil seedlings in a Volksgarden®
The Project Open Hand indoor greenhouse is truly a marvel.  Since the first test-run of seedlings planted last October, four solid harvests of both basil and lettuce were produced, as well as micro-greens.

These harvests are included in the 2,500 nutritious meals produced with love that Project Open Hand provides every day to seniors and neighbors living with life-threatening illnesses.  Serving San Francisco and Alameda County, the agency also provides more than 200 bags of healthy groceries per day to help critically ill clients feel better by eating healthfully.

A Volksgarden® structure in use
A Volksgarden® structure in use
The large wheels in this greenhouse are rotary hydroponic systems called Volksgardens®, which are produced by Omega Garden, a Canadian company. The Volksgarden® utilizes a rotating cylinder housing the plants arranged around a light source at the center. The result is a highly effective use of lumens, water, and nutrients. As a result, this garden grows quickly yet is strong and healthy through each season of the year.
A bountiful harvest to be turned into healthy meals
A bountiful harvest to be turned into healthy meals
Each Volksgarden® unit allows the growth of 80 plants at a time. POH is currently focusing on leafy greens for their high nutritional value and yield.

In this greenhouse, it takes only six to seven weeks to grow plants from seed to harvest. Throughout this time period as plants are trimmed or thinned, smaller harvests result.

Two fans that feed into overhead ducts provide necessary ventilation.  Without the fans moving air through the spave, plants in the indoor greenhouse would use up all the carbon dioxide in the room within five minutes!  In addition, the ventilation draws away heat that is generated by the powerful lights in the Volksgardens®.
Learn more about Project Open Hand at www.openhand.org.

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