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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a greenhouse project?

PCF users are asked to fill out a Project Request Form to initiate a greenhouse project. We ask for a minimum of 2 weeks notice but every effort will be made to find the appropriate greenhouse space, obtain the necessary greenhouse supplies, and get the required soil for your project as soon as possible. These forms are available at 1222 or 1312 PSL. You may also fill out an on-line version of the Project Request Form.

What is the charge for using greenhouse space?

The PCF Service Charges for space and associated services are based on the bench space assigned to a greenhouse project. The minimum charge is 33 ¢/square foot/month and covers the use of space and basic services. The maximum rate with full service, supplies, and supplemental lighting is 68¢/sq ft/month plus soil charges.

An example of how these charges add up:

At the full service rate (68¢/sq ft/month), a 200 square foot room in the PSL greenhouse with the current bench arrangement will be charged $408/quarter.
Please note: these examples assume the full service rate and that the user has been assigned use of all the bench space in the room. Charges are calculated for the actual time the space is reserved for a project and the level of services provided.

How do I get soil for my greenhouse, growth chamber, or laboratory project?

The PCF operates a full-service soil room to provide custom soil-based mixes and commercial soilless mixes.

For soil-based mixes, you may choose from a selection of commonly used soil recipes or request a mix tailored to your specific needs. Soil mixes normally require a 5 working day advance notice.

The PCF also stocks a selection of soilless mixes. These products are available during working hours for pick-up.

For both soil and soilless mixes, please fill out a Soil Request Form. These forms are available outside 1222 or 1312 PSL. You may also fill out an on-line version of a Soil Mix Request Form or Soilless Mix Request Form.

Please note: Soil charges are billed per order and added to your quarterly service charges.

Can I get supplies from the storeroom?

Yes, you can!  If renting space from the Plant Care Facility, you may use supplies on the left (west) side of storeroom only.  The section to the right is for Plant Biology staff and users exclusively.  Please do not use items from this side of room without obtaining prior permission from Debbie Black (Plant Biology Greenhouse Manager).  Her office is located at 1220 PSL.

When using supplies from the PCF, please be sure to complete supply form in its entirety.  All heading infomation (PI, Class #, Date, Where will supplies be used?, Account #, Your name, Phone #, and Department) and items taken must be completed for billing purposes.  Please see this example of a completed supply form for your reference.

Billing choices are easy.  You may choose to pay the PCF Supplies charge to use supplies as needed.  You will be charged the established PCF Supplies rate by total growing area used monthly.  Or, you can pay market prices as-you-go.  Invoices will be issued quarterly.

Hours of Operation:  Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 11 am and 1 pm - 4 pm (CLOSED STATE HOLIDAYS)

What other services are available through the PCF staff and how do I request them?

The PCF Staff is available to assist with most activities in the greenhouse. Users are asked to fill out a Project Request Form when initiating a greenhouse project. Subsequent changes to watering, fertilizing, planting schedule, control system settings, project dismantling, pest control, obtaining propagules and plant materials, etc., may be requested on the "PCF Service Request Form". Since we may get a number of requests at one time, we do appreciate getting your request in writing. (For many of these services, you can also send us your request by e-mail.). Forms are available outside 1222 or 1312 PSL, and near the phone in the Turner Hall greenhouse crosshouse. An on-line version of the PCF Service Request Form or the PCF Project Request Form is also available.

I need to get into the greenhouse at night and on weekends - how do I get keys?

To request keys to the greenhouse, please email PCF Clerk (1214 PSL). Tell us what department you are in, your advisor (if you are not one yourself), the greenhouse rooms you need access to, and if you need an outside door key. Please allow at least a day or two for us to obtain keys from F & S. Also, please remember to return your greenhouse keys to 1222 or 1312 PSL when you no longer need them.

How do I get my greenhouse plants sprayed if necessary?

Pest control is a basic service included in the service charge for any PCF project. Users are requested to note special pest control requirements on the forms when they initiate a greenhouse project. Pest control will be carried out on an as-needed basis or after consulting the greenhouse user. Please feel free to contact us at any time during a greenhouse project to discuss pest control options.

A note on greenhouse chemical applications: In the PCF greenhouses, pesticides and other greenhouse chemicals are commonly applied by the PCF staff. Greenhouse users who need to do their own chemical applications must have the appropriate licenses from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. All applicable EPA Worker Protection Standard (WPS) guidelines (wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, posting approved warning signs, keeping and posting chemical application records, etc.) must also be followed. If you have any questions about licensing requirements or the WPS, please contact the PCF staff.

Are personal plants allowed to be grown or housed in the Place Care Facility?

No. The Plant Care Facility is for the purpose of conducting plant and insect research or for the rearing of plant material for University courses or other educational purposes.

Where do I find SDSs for chemicals used in the greenhouse?

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for the PCF are kept in a notebook in the corridor opposite 1312 PSL and in the Turner Hall Greenhouse head house outside range 4. WPS required safety information is also posted in this area.

Where do I dump my plants and soil from my project when I'm done with them?

Please note that when you dispose of any greenhouse refuse, the soil and plant material needs to be disposed of separately from any other trash (plastic pots, clay pots, paper, wood, etc.). Separate refuse containers labeled for Soil or Plant Material Only! or Trash Only! are available throughout the greenhouses. These containers should be emptied into the appropriate load luggers located on the north and south ends of the Plant Sciences Lab and south end ofTurner Hall greenhouses.

PSL has both a large and a small autoclave available for destroying transgenic plant material. It is usually easiest to bag up the material in large autoclave bags  (The PCF does stock autoclave bags which are located in storeroom).

If you need any assistance with cleaning up your greenhouse, please ask.

Can I schedule a tour of the PCF greenhouses?

The PCF staff is available to give tours of the Greenhouse facility. Priority will be given to university classes in the plant sciences. You can request a tour on-line or contact us for more information.

Still have questions?

For any other questions or concerns about your project, please stop by the greenhouse, give us a call, or e-mail us! We're here to help with your greenhouse project or any plant growth requirement.