Emergency Contacts for Horticulture Greenhouse

Dial 911 in Any Emergency.

If you're not sure, you can call Purdue Police   non-emergency  number and tell them the problem 49-48221.

Nathan A. Deppe, Plant Growth Facilities Manager

Office: 49-47265
Cell: (309) 642-9449

Ali Jewell, Greenhouse Technician

Office: 49-63745

Cell: (765) 637-8102

Purdue Dept of Radiological & Environmental Management (Safety and spills): 49-46371

For a serious problem with the building that you can't contact Nathan or Ali about, call Purdue Police   non-emergency  number (765) 494-8221 (From Campus Phone: 49-48221). They will page a maintenance person who is on-call.

Mission of the Horticulture Greenhouse

To create environments for excellence in plant research, teaching and outreach, using current technology and a customer-focused service team


To be the best university plant growth facility in the country


People development through continuous learning by the greenhouse team and users of the facility

Greenhouse Team

Nathan Deppe, Plant Growth Facilities Manager

Accountable for all activities of the Greenhouse Team, including hiring, training, scheduling, providing instruction, and monitoring performance. Programs, monitors, and maintains computer controls for greenhouses, growth rooms, growth chambers, and coolers, as well as timers for lighting in greenhouses. Responsible for the installation and proper maintenance of greenhouse equipment. Provides orientation to new students and staff using the facility. Also in charge of space allocation for the facility.

Ali Jewell, Greenhouse Technician

Responsible for all tasks in pest scouting, tracking, and control measures. Irrigates crops and monitors fertilizer levels. Installs and maintains equipment, maintains greenhouse sanitation, provides training/instruction to employees, and is familiar with most greenhouse controls.

Eric Whitehead, Building Deputy

Maintains both the HORT building and the HGRH (greenhouse) by performing maintenance and coordinating repairs. Does minor repairs, installations, fabrications, moving and painting in HORT. In HGRH, does minor repairs and maintenance on motorized shade curtains, evaporative cooling pads, plant growth chambers and other equipment. Also in charge of key distribution and departmental vehicle maintenance.

3-5 part-time student employees

Services provided are:

  • temperature and light programming
  • watering 365 days a year
  • weekly pest scouting and control measures
  • greenhouse maintenance and routine sanitation
  • proper disposal of greenhouse plant material
  • setting up supplemental lighting and irrigation systems
  • other tasks as time allows

Facility Specifications

25 glass greenhouse rooms, 1 plastic polyhouse, 2 air-conditioned growth rooms, 17 growth chambers, 5 walk-in coolers, three teaching labs, work areas.

Facility User Responsibility

Users grow their plants using the services of the greenhouse team. They monitor and maintain their crops, including:

  • planning space needs and supply needs in advance
  • ordering specialty supplies
  • setting up or applying experimental treatments
  • filling out Plant Transfer Record (PTR) form
  • checking on plants at least twice a week
  • spacing plants properly
  • giving instructions and feedback to the team
  • help monitor for insects and diseases
  • keeping areas sanitary and orderly
  • transplanting
  • staking or caging tall plants
  • discarding plants quickly in proper receptacles, or asking for help

Supplies Available

Supplies are kept in soils storage room next to the potting room. Remember to check for supplies before starting a large experiment--we do sometimes run low between shipments. Supplies provided free of charge are:

  • soilless potting mixes, typically one for germination, one for large pots and one general-purpose
  • vermiculite and perlite
  • rooting hormone
  • square 3" and 4" diameter pots
  • round "standard" (tall) pots of diameter 6", and 8"
  • round "azalea" (short) pots of diameter 5" and 6.5"
  • 2-gallon and 3-gallon nursery pots
  • black carrying trays and white sub-irrigation trays
  • thin plastic tray inserts of 6, 32, 36, 48, and 72 cells/tray
  • a small supply of clear plastic tray covers
  • wire support cages for tall plants
  • carts for transport
  • safety items including disposable gloves and dust masks
  • small supply items such as bamboo stakes, twist ties, and pot labels

Costs Charged Back to Faculty

A recharge may be assessed for use of more than:

40 bags of soil mix
20 bags calcined clay
One-half case at a time of any given pot or tray size
75 white sub-irrigation trays at one time


Think Safety -- Keep in mind that the public will often be in this facility, including children.

Small supplies used often in the greenhouse can be kept in the shoebox-sized plastic boxes provided just inside the door. Water-tight lidded tubs can be purchased by faculty for larger items. Plastic cabinets should be purchased by faculty for storing many items or secured items—see cabinets located in some greenhouse zones for an example. Some supplies such as specialty soils will need to be kept in parking lot under tarps.

All chemicals should be labeled, including those containing only water. Pesticides for research use—either concentrated or in final solution (such as herbicides for screening)-- can not be stored in the greenhouse. They should be stored properly in a laboratory hood and brought to the greenhouse for application only.

Only chemicals used for greenhouse may be stored in the pesticide storage room. No herbicides will be stored in the pesticide room at any time.

No items may be stored in greenhouse corridors. Do not use the ledges along the windows for storage. Items found there will be removed.


HGRH is a working facility, not a show place, but orderliness is still expected of all users. Failure to keep a sanitary, orderly growth area can result in loss of greenhouse space.

The greenhouse team disposes of trash one time per week. We also clean floors, but no more often than once per month. We are happy to help discard large experiments if you ask.

Please do not fill trash cans heavier than you would want to lift!  40lbs maximum.

Keys and Key Card Access

For after-hour access to HORT, please contact Eric Whitehead to request access via your Purdue ID card. Contact Nathan for similar access to HGRH. Building Deputy Eric Whitehead has keys to the HORT, offices and labs. A key request form is required. The key must be returned upon leaving department employment. Keys will not be issued to undergraduates but to the faculty in charge of their projects. 

Getting Space in the Facility for Your Plants

Space is allocated by the plant growth facility manager to HLA faculty. Space request forms are sent to faculty three times a year, in August, December and April. Graduate students, post docs, and visiting scientists should provide information to their faculty advisor about space needs.

Once allocated, labs need to coordinate among their members to not use more space than allocated. One person in a lab group should be identified to the facility manager as having this coordinating role. This will ensure the best use of the limited space in our facility. Some additional space may be allocated, depending on availability, only upon faculty request.

Forestry & Natural Resources Department utilizes two greenhouse zones, and makes decisions on allocation within those zones.

Faculty seeking authorization for collaborating individuals outside of our department to use the facility should provide information on the space request form. This should be updated each time the space request is filled out. The HLA greenhouse committee will provide this authorization, in consultation with the facility manager.

Plant Transfer Record (PTR) Form

It is extremely important that a PTR form be submitted whenever plant material is placed into the facility, or transferred from one room or table area to another. This allows us to keep track of who owns which plants, what special care they may need, and to track pests. PTR forms are available in the potting area and can be placed in the bin on Nathan’s door in room 1139C.

Print a Plant Transfer Record

A "blanket" PTR can be filled out for a sequential seeding or transplanting for the same project, explaining the planting schedule. A good rule of thumb: will out watering team easily understand that these new plants are a part of the current project?

Plants will not be serviced, including watering until we receive the PTR. Continued non-compliance will result in the plants being discarded without notice.

Plant/Cutting Inspection

Plants or cuttings from the field, other growing facilities, or commercial sources should be checked by the Dan Little for pests before being placed in growing areas.

Providing Room in Pots for Water

"Head space" is the space in the pot from the soil line to the pot rim. If you fill the soil to the rim of the pot, we will not be able to water the plant properly. A good guideline is to fill to just above the inner lip of the pot. Some settling does occur after first watering, but not as much as many people think. Test with one pot before potting your whole crop.

Spacing Plants

Plants should be spaced properly on the greenhouse bench or in growth chamber to allow for air movement and for access by greenhouse team to water, scout and spray.


Place brown craft paper on the table when you transplant. This will keep root diseases off the table. The rolls of craft paper are on the windowsills of the potting room.

Quarantine Areas

Some areas have special quarantine restrictions due to the presence of a viral disease. Policies for working in these zones are posted on the doors, and are often determined with input from the user. It is the responsibility of the user to read about, learn and follow these procedures.

Users must let us know if you suspect plant material you will be transferring to the facility may be infected with viral diseases.

Collections, "Pet Plants", and Other Long-Term Crops

Space in the facility is reserved for active teaching and research only. Personal use "pet plants" are not allowed. Starting personal garden plants or houseplants is not allowed.

Plants should not be kept longer than necessary in the facility, particularly if they’ve completed their life cycle and are not actively growing. Six months for herbaceous and one year for woody plants. Insects and disease become a problem in all these cases, with possibility for insecticide resistance to develop.

"Orphan" Plants

Users must check their crops at least once weekly. Leaving "orphan crops" in the care of the greenhouse team often results in our team caring for plants that have been forgotten about and no longer needed. Forgotten plants become pest reservoirs.

Preventing Seed Contamination

Harvesting seed near other pots or bags of soil can lead to unwanted seed germinating later, possibly ruining experiments. If you can conveniently harvest seed somewhere besides the potting room, please do. If you harvest in the potting room, please use one of the tables along the walls and not the potting tables in the center of the room. Be aware of other sources of seed contamination, such as the brooms used to clean tables. There are brooms designated for floors and brooms designated for tables.


Facility users must inform Nathan or Dan prior to chemical applications of herbicides, fungicides and other regulated chemicals to ensure compliance with all appropriate regulations.

Faculty are responsible for their staff’s safety compliance in the Horticulture Greenhouse, and their staff receiving applicable safety training. The same departmental policies toward glove contamination and labeling chemicals applies in the greenhouse.

Pesticide Safety

The manager will send out a weekly email containing information on upcoming pesticide applications. EPA-approved NO ENTRY signs will always be on doors of treated areas, meaning the restricted access is currently in effect. These will be taken down shortly after the label-designated period of restriction is over. We post yellow signs over the NO ENTRY signs stating the re-entry conditions, such as gloves and long sleeves.

A pesticide application record manual is posted outside office HGRH 1139B. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) and copies of labels are available in the same location.

Due to pesticide residues, do not bring food and drink into a greenhouse zone. It’s always a good idea to wash your hands after working in the greenhouse. Some may choose to never enter treated areas and always wear disposable gloves when handling plants as a precaution.

Greenhouse Audible Alarms

The greenhouses and growth rooms are alarmed for temperature emergencies. In case a piece of equipment fails and the temperature rises or falls above alarm setpoints, you will hear a beep coming from the computer cabinet in the corridor near the location. You don’t need to do anything unless it continues for more than 30 minutes, in which case you can contact Nathan or Ali. Here’s what happens: The alarm appears on the computer in manager’s office and manager is also called by the computer one minute later. Even if it’s after hours, manager can acknowledge these alarms and fix the problem remotely.

Policy Violations

Users of the facility are responsible for learning and following these policies. Manager will communicate policies and remind users when they are in violation. Repeated, deliberate violations of these policies may result in greenhouse services being suspended for that user or a reduction in allocated space.

When Things Go Wrong

Things go wrong when human beings care for perishable products in the dynamic environment of a greenhouse. If you see a problem with something a greenhouse team member is doing, you may tell them directly. Users may also choose to tell manager or technician of problems they see. In either case, please don’t be rude.

When things go wrong with manager’s performance, you can tell him directly. You can also contact HLA Department Chair to whom he reports.