This document establishes the policies and procedures for the use and care of the Fischer Greenhouse Complex and Plant Growth Facility of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware.  To standardize the facility use, roles and responsibilities of the greenhouse staff, greenhouse users, plant growth facility users and the Greenhouse Advisory Committee (GAC), the following policies have been developed.

Changes in this document should be submitted directly to GAC for consideration. A recommendation for action will be made to the Chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences as needed.


Training | Requesting Space | Requesting Plant Materials | Sanitation Procedures | Plant Waste Disposal | Equipment | Environmental Controls | Greenhouse Supplies | Staff Services | Greenhouse User Responsibilities | Plant Growth User Responsibilities | Fee Structure | Building Security

Section 1: Required Training for Facility Users   

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  1.  First time greenhouse and chamber users are required to schedule an orientation session with the Greenhouse Manager.  In addition to introducing the user to the resources available, additional topics to be discussed will include: correct procedures to handle containers, soil mixes, fertilizers, disease and pests control, watering and supplies.

  1. All greenhouse users are required to complete EPA mandated Worker Right-to-Know training prior to starting any research in the facility.  Refresher training is required every year. This training can be arranged through the Department of Health and Occupational Safety (Link).


Section 2: Requesting plant growth space for research   

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  1. Requests for greenhouse space should be made using these forms (Request for Greenhouse Space Form, Request for Growth Chamber Space, Supply Labor Request Form) at least two weeks prior to the start of the project/research.
  1. Greenhouse space will be assigned only for the specific time period required by the project.  Greenhouse space will not be allocated for an indefinite time period.
  1. The requesting user will receive a copy of the Space Request form indicating the assigned space.  This form will also serve as authorization for any keys that need to be issued.  All keys are obtained from the Assistant to the Chair, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and should be returned upon completion of the project.
  1. Every effort will be made to meet space needs. Current space demands, project size, past performance, utilization efficiency, sanitation, cooperation and project importance will be considered when allocating space. 
  1. If greenhouse space is not available and the Greenhouse Manager is unable to resolve the situation, a written appeal may be submitted to the GAC by the greenhouse user denied space.
  1. Users must confine their plant growth to the area specially assigned to their project
  1. Users cannot re-assign their unused space to other user researchers.
  1. Delays in project completion should be discussed as soon as possible with the Greenhouse Manager.  Extended delays are subject to review by the Chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. 
  1. Space not vacated on schedule will be cleared. All unauthorized materials will be disposed of. 
    Individuals may only request an extension to use space by submitting a new Request for Greenhouse Space form a minimum of 1 month in advance of the termination date of the original request.
  1. Greenhouse users are expected to leave the facility (greenhouse/headhouse/growth chambers) clean at the time of completion of an experiment, task or class.  Areas not cleaned by the completion date listed on the Request for Space Form will be cleaned by the greenhouse staff at the rate of $50.00 per hour.
  1. Assigned space not used within two weeks of when the space is made available to the user will revert back to the Greenhouse Manager and is subject to reassignment.  If the user needs to hold the space, greenhouse fees will begin to accumulate.


 Section 3: Requesting Plant Materials for Use by Classes   

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  1. Plant materials to be grown for classroom use require adequate lead-time.  Requests for course materials to be sown each semester should be received by the Greenhouse Manager two months prior to the first day of classes.
  1. Requests for new crops, along with a delivery schedule, should be made far enough in advance to allow for a test crop to be grown.


Section 4: Sanitation Procedures   

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  1. All new plant materials are to be inspected by a member of the greenhouse staff for infestation before being introduced into the greenhouse.  Infected plants will be treated before being placed in the facility.
  1. Disease and insect problems are to be reported immediately to the Greenhouse Supervisor.
  1. Wash hands before working with plants.  This is especially important when working with propagation materials or if you smoke tobacco products.  Smoking is forbidden in the greenhouse.
  1. Media is stored in the containers under the benches in the headhouse area and should be kept clean and free of debris.  Do not re-use spilled soil or soil that accumulates on the floor.  This should be placed in the compost cart.  Contact greenhouse staff if additional media is needed.
  1. All hose ends, waterbreakers, mist nozzles and other attachments should be hung up off the greenhouse floor when not in use.  Water should be turned off and the pressure released.  Report hose repairs to the Greenhouse Supervisor.
  1. Greenhouse benches are to be kept clean.  Do not stand or put your feet on greenhouse benches.  This will help avoid carrying diseases up to crop level. 
  1. Greenhouse carts should be hosed off after use and returned to the padwall area.
  1. Greenhouse space is to be kept clean and orderly by all users.  Consult with the Greenhouse Manager for storage alternatives.

  1. Headhouse space is “common space”.  No materials or equipment may be permanently stored in this area.  Headhouse areas must be cleaned up immediately after use.

  1. All dirty flats and pots should be placed in the padwall area (main hallway in glass house) next to the sink.  These items will be washed and restocked by the greenhouse staff.  If you have supplies that need to be sterilized, please notify the Greenhouse Supervisor.

Section 5: Plant Waste Disposal   

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If you generate non-hazardous waste, it can be composted.

  1. Remove all labels/stakes/containers and then place the plant/soil material in the composting cart located in the headhouse area of Fischer greenhouse.

  1. Large amounts of material may be carted directly to the compost pile behind the complex.

If you generate potentially hazardous waste (chemically-contaminated, infected with a pathogen, or transgenic, as well as potentially contaminated material such as soil, labels, containers, or adjacent plant material), dispose of the plants, soil, labels, and containers according to University of Delaware policies. It is the users responsibility to determine the waste stream, and a waste disposal plan should be in place before an experiment is initiated.

For chemically-contaminated waste, follow the Procedure l for chemical waste at the OHS web site (

For biohazardous waste, including transgenic plants and plants infected by pathogens,  follow this standard procedure:

  1. Line an infectious waste box with two infectious waste bags

  2. Label the box clearly with your name

  3. When full, seal and label with name and date on top (Do not overfill as the box or you will be required to repack the waste.  

  4. As a rule of thumb,  if an average person can lift it, it should be okay.)

  5. Leave the sealed box outside Zone 4 in Fischer greenhouse for pick-up by Occupational Heath and Safety.

  6. More supplies (boxes, bags, and tape) can be ordered using the OHS web form(


Section 6: Equipment   

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The Fischer Greenhouse Complex and the Plant Growth Chamber facility have an array of equipment available for trained users, including a soil mixer and seed dryer.

1.      All requests for greenhouse equipment must be made to the Greenhouse Supervisor in writing (hot link to form).

2.      Users must receive training before attempting to use any to use any equipment.  Training will be provided by the Greenhouse Supervisor.

3.      Equipment needed for class purposes should be reserved with the Greenhouse Supervisor at least 3 days before needed. 

4.      Do not take equipment without notifying the Greenhouse Supervisor.

5.      Any equipment problems should be reported to the Greenhouse Supervisor.  Tools and equipment are not for personal use.


  Section 7: Glasshouse Environmental Controls

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  1. Environmental control equipment (vents, shade curtains, thermostats) will be operated by greenhouse staff only.  Changes in environmental conditions in individual greenhouse spaces should be requested in writing.

  2. Malfunctions in the environmental control systems should be reported to the Greenhouse Manager in writing.  In an emergency situation, any greenhouse staff member may be contacted.  A list of emergency contacts is posted on the greenhouse office door.


  Section 8: Greenhouse Supplies       

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1.                 A supply of pots, flats, labels, fertilizer, media and other common use supplies are kept on hand for greenhouse users.  These supplies are available for research and teaching projects for a minimal charge.

2.         Users requiring large quantities of soil/supplies should notify the Greenhouse Manager by filling out a Request for Space/Supplies form (hot link) at least 2 weeks before supplies are needed.  Please indicate the account to be charged for these supplies

3.        The standard inventory is listed below:




2 " POTS


2 1/2 " POTS

2 1/2 " FLATS

3 " POTS (504/CASE)


3 1/2 " POTS (504/CASE) 

3 1/2 " FLATS

4 " POTS (600/CASE)

4 " FLATS (50/CSE

4 1/2 " POTS (510/CASE)

4 1/2 " FLATS (50/CASE)


4 " ROUND POTS (1000/CASE) 

4 1/2 " ROUND POTS (1000/CASE) 

5 " ROUND POTS   (225/CASE)


































Peters Excel 21/5/20


Osmocote 18/6/12


Green Shield






5/8" HOSE





  Chamber cleaning supplies

  Chamber replacement bulbs


Section 9: Greenhouse Staff Services 

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The Greenhouse staff are professional horticulturalists who will provide training, horticultural advice and services on a fee structure basis.  These services include:

  1. Daily watering (including weekends and holidays) and weekly fertilization of plants, unless directed otherwise by glasshouse user;

  2. Please note, there is no water support for chamber users.  Users are responsible to water and fertilize their own plants.

  3. Help with setup of environmental conditions and planting of glasshouse and  growth chamber projects; 

  4. Disease management and pest control in consultation with greenhouse and chamber user;

  5. Production of plant materials for class use;

  6. Assistance  with purchase of seeds or plant materials required for greenhouse projects;

  7. Provision of supplies for projects, including special soil mixes as requested by user.

Section 10: Greenhouse User Responsibilities 

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  1. Ensure that your safety training is appropriate and up to date

  2. Maintain open lines of communication with greenhouse staff concerning the status of the project/course..

  3. Submit a Request for Space/Supplies Form to receive space assignment. Incomplete forms will be returned. Space will not be assigned if there is no form on file.

  4. Consult with the greenhouse manager in advance if there is any requirement for large quantities or unusual types of supplies.

  5. Obtain plant materials and non-standard supplies for project/course.

  6. Clearly label all material in the assigned area including your name and the date of planting. Label any transgenic plants as such (USDA requirement).

  7. Submit written requests for assistance, change in routine or change in location (i.e. special watering instructions, bench modification, moving plants, etc.)

  8. Greenhouse users are expected to maintain an active role in the progress of their greenhouse project.

  9. Maintenance of all dedicated equipment associated with one’s project

  10. Promptly notify Greenhouse Supervisor of required repairs, replacements needed (lights, broken glass) or any other problems with the growth facility.

  11. Maintain greenhouse space in orderly manner, paying particular attention to neatness and sanitation.

  12. Remove yellowed or dead leaf material on a regular basis to reduce breeding areas for pests, provided this does not conflict with the experiment.  Prune plants to maintain compact growth habit to reduce problems associated with overgrown plants.

  13. Immediately following a project, plant materials should be disposed of or harvested in a timely fashion.  Allowing materials to become pest infested or overgrown will not be tolerated.

  14. Notify the greenhouse staff promptly when a greenhouse project reaches completion

  15. Assist with disposal of unneeded plant materials and removal of equipment.

Section 11: Plant Growth Chamber Facility User Responsibilities 

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  1. Ensure that your safety training is appropriate and up to date.

  2. Maintain open lines of communication with the growth facility staff concerning the status of the project/course.

  3. Plan space and supply needs in advance, including Request for Space/Supplies form.

  4. Submit a completed request form Space/Supplies Form to receive a space assignment. Incomplete forms will be returned. Space will not be assigned if there is no form on file.

  5. Consult with the growth facility manager in advance if there is any requirement for large quantities or unusual types of supplies. Users are responsible for ordering specialized supplies including pots, flats, and media. 

  6. Submit written requests for assistance or changes in routine or location (i.e. shelf modifications, light modifications, moving plants etc) to the Greenhouse Supervisor.

  7. Clearly label all material in the assigned area including your name and the date of planting. Label any transgenic plants as such (USDA requirement).

  8. Plant and tend your plants in the chambers (this includes but is not limited to watering and fertilizing).

  9. Space plants adequately to ensure air movement in chamber.

  10. Maintain any dedicated equipment for your project.

  11. Promptly report any repairs, replacements needed (e.g. lights) or any other problems with the operation of the growth chamber.

  12. Keep the chamber space you are using clean and sanitary. If necessary coordinate with other users of the same chamber.

  13. Monitor plants regularly for insect damage and diseases and report any problems immediately to the plant facility manager/supervisor.

  14. Remove yellowed or dead leaf material on a regular basis to reduce breeding areas for pests, provided this does not conflict with the experiment. 

  15. All plants must be discarded and the growth chamber left clean and sanitary by the end date of the project  (as noted on the space request form). If necessary coordinate the cleaning with other users


Section 12: Fee Structure for Glasshouse and Chamber Usage, Supplies and Services, Glasshouse and Chamber Bench Fees   

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Glasshouse usage fees for are based upon actual space held for the project, services and supplies provided by the facility.

Space can be reserved for a minimum of one month in units of 20 sq. ft of bench.

Greenhouse usage with basic horticultural services and supplies

The bench fee is $.75/sq. ft. bench/month for space in Fischer Glasshouse. This fee includes payment for basic horticultural services (environmental set up, watering, fertilizing, pest and disease management) and consumables (containers, labels, soilless mix, supplemental lighting, shading, electricity). 

Greenhouse usage with limited horticultural services and no supplies provided

The bench space fee is $0.45/ sq.ft. bench/month for space in Fischer Glasshouse.  This fee includes environmental set up, water supply, electricity, basic lighting, and pest and disease management.

The bench fee is $0.10 /sq. ft. bench/month for space in the Old Glasshouse.

Chambers with limited horticultural services and no supplies provided

Chamber ID

Chamber Features

Cost per month

Chamber 1



Chamber 2



Chamber 3



Chamber 4

Walk-in10’ x 15’ , max mE


Chamber 5

Walk-in 9’8” x 9’8”, fluorescent and incandescent lighting, max 200 uE


Chamber 6

Walk-in 9’8” x 9’8”


Chamber 7

Walk-in 9’8” x 9’8”

Installation in progress

Chamber 8

Reach-in (in growth room)


Chamber 9

Reach- in Dew Chamber

Reserved for Evans

Chamber 10

Reach-in Dew Chamber

Reserved for Evans

*Charges are consistent with Reach-in chambers at DBI

Plant Growth Room

The bench fee is $10/shelf growth unit (three shelves)/month.  This fee includes basic lighting, water supply, and electricity.

Seed storage facility

Users will be charged an annual fee of $250 for use of the seed storage facility.


Supplies, including special soil mixe 

actual cost from supplier


Daily watering and weekly fertilization of plants 

See Usage fees

Setup of environmental conditions of glasshouse and growth chamber

No fee

Disease management and pest control –  

No fee

Production of plant materials for class use


Assistance with purchase of seeds or plant materials 

No fee

Cleaning Charge/Disposal of Plant Materials 


Greenhouse Labor (other than basic services)



Payment for services

All research activities using greenhouse space will be on a prepaid fee basis.  All other charges will be billed quarterly.  Fees will increase 4% per year, and should be included in the budget planning process.

Access to the Plant Growth Facility is limited to authorized personnel only and must remain locked at all times.  Visitors should be accompanied by a faculty or staff member.

Greenhouse staff members are available 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. 

The front doors of Fischer Greenhouse are secured by Campus Security after 5 p.m.

Users requiring after hours/weekend access to the greenhouse or plant growth facility will be issued appropriate keys by the Assistant to the Chair, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.  Persons issued keys are responsible for the security of the complex.


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Section 13: Building Security  

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