December 3, 2008

Media Matters

Always at the leading edge, in 1994, Berger Peat Moss was the first peat company in North America to obtain the ISO 9001 international quality control certification. This has permitted Berger to continue to develop and provide consistent high-quality products. For example, the introduction of the new “Euro Mix” line of mixes provided growers with a 100 percent quality peat mix with no added aggregates. The environment has always and will continue to be a priority in Berger’s operations, making sure that we protect the resource and other environmental issues for generations ahead. We have developed the 3Rs for a healthy environment: Reduce, Respect & Restore. We were the first peat producer to introduce the large volume packing. The “Skyscraper” was a revolutionary innovation that has helped to reduce plastic wastes considerably and increase productivity for growers. In an effort to respect the environment, one of Berger’s missions is to […]

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December 3, 2008

New Technologies In Nutrition

The Scotts Company celebrated its 140th anniversary this year, and it evolved greatly since the days of O.M. Scott. The last 25 years have certainly brought many innovative changes to the ornamentals industry as a whole. What will happen in the next 25 years? There will surely be many changes in ornamental production, some that will be impossible to predict at this point in time. However, some recent trends are expected to continue into the foreseeable future: more large production operations, more automation, increasing pressures to reduce material costs, labor and shrinkage, and additional need to reduce waste, environmental impact and adopt sustainable practices. There’s little doubt that the sustainability movement within the horticulture industry will continue to be at the forefront of our industry’s consciousness. As a result, Scotts has developed “The e3 Approach to Sustainability,” which advocates the balance of three important elements–efficiency, economy and ecology–for a more […]

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December 3, 2008

The Evolution Of Plastic Packaging

Plant packaging has been and will continue to be an integral and important part of the horticulture industry. We have enjoyed our industry role and look forward to continuing to provide creative solutions for growing, handling, transporting and displaying plants at retail. Landmark Plastic, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009, has taken a leadership role with the evolution of plastic plant packaging and growing products working hand in hand with growers. Growers’ needs are the key for driving our creativity and innovation for the future of horticulture. We will continue to help growers find solutions to their packaging needs by collaborating with growers, retailers and allied suppliers in developing products that will provide the most efficient growing processes and best plant quality and will optimize greenhouse utilization and delivery costs. Along with our long-established sustainability practices and the ever-evolving advancements in technology, Landmark will continue to assist growers in differentiating […]

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December 3, 2008

Automating Nutrition

The biggest trend I see for growers is the need to inject different fertilizer or different amounts of fertilizer to different crops, where and when they choose. Today, plant material varieties vary widely in their fertilizer requirements. No longer is it practical to run the same fertilizer and fertilizer concentrations throughout the entire greenhouse range. Looking to the future, growers will need dedicated fertilizer injectors for each crop so that they can have total flexibility to inject any fertilizer formulation, pesticide, plant growth regulator, etc., at will. All of this will be done through automated watering systems, thus eliminating watering errors and extra labor costs. Growers will continue to demand injectors that are highly accurate and reliable while also being easy to use and maintain. Companies that excel in customer service and offer advanced technology to obtain that service will become the leaders in this field. Long gone will be […]

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December 3, 2008

Delivering Content In 2033

Before the Internet, the way we shared information hadn’t changed too much over the last 100 years. Though the technologies and mediums have evolved, the media operated in a one-to-many model – I’m one person talking to many of you. The Internet has changed all that. A Glimpse Into The Future As I write this, my husband is at a software developers conference. Thousands of computer geeks are there, attending several sessions over five days, and milling around a pretty good-sized trade show. There’s really little need for traditional magazine coverage of the show to get the gist of what happened, though. Why? Because of Twitter – the microblogging site used by people all over the world to make their voices heard. Attendees themselves are reporting from cell phones and laptops. Hundreds of posts per minute, on everything that’s going on. And I mean everything – whether the speakers are […]

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December 3, 2008

Integrating Biologicals

Over the next 25 years, BioWorks will continue to be an industry leader in developing and commercializing environmentally responsible, safe and cost-effective solutions to the horticulture industry. As the momentum for the sustainability movement continues, growers will demand that the products (e.g., inputs) they use are safe to their crops, their employees and have minimal effect on local and global environments. Consumers are demanding a safe, high-quality food supply. BioWorks’ efforts will help support these demands. Further, integrating biological and biorational pest control products with traditional chemical products provides an ideal tool for the grower to combat the development of chemically-resistant pests and minimize chemical pesticide residue concerns. At BioWorks, we are continually asking the question: “How can we make our products better and more user-friendly?” We are constantly looking for better ways to manufacture our products to achieve the highest quality, efficacy and safety possible. Better formulations, including materials […]

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December 3, 2008

Dream On

We sure had fun putting this issue together. It was an opportunity to reflect on the strides our industry has made in 25 years, but the best part was dreaming about the future. Brainstorming with our readers about what the next 25 years could bring was really liberating. Day to day, we’re so focused on immediate business challenges it’s hard to open our minds and think outside the greenhouse. Many of you shared your “wildest dreams” with us for new products, technology and varieties. We really got a kick out of our “Joe the Future Grower” interview. He is bold, going where no grower has gone before, in a space-age market. When I was looking through our early issues to put together our timeline capturing the last 25 years, I couldn’t help but wonder what the growers we featured in 1983 would think about 2008. Could they fathom a greenhouse […]

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December 3, 2008

BenchPress: 2033

Life is too serious at times, so let’s have a little fun with a futuristic BenchPress. Our staff and readers came up with some of the headlines and stories you very well may be reading about come 2033. You’ll also find a question-and-answer interview with a grower from the future and a look back from 2033 on this year’s top stories. Enjoy! Labor Dependency Lowest Ever Growers began to reduce their dependence on immigrant labor years ago when the U.S. government decided to fine greenhouse operations $100,000 for each illeg al immigrant it employed. That action forced growers to look elsewhere for labor and kicked off the Automation Renaissance, which culminated this month with the introduction of the Robotic Greenhouse Managers (RGM) at select greenhouse operations across the country. The RGM system essentially eliminates the need for employees to even set foot in the greenhouse. The cost of a single […]

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December 3, 2008

BenchPress Profile: Joe Grower

Joe Grower is your typical greenhouse grower, only he lives and works in the year 2033. We caught up with him recently and asked him about his craft. What crops are you growing in the greenhouse right now? Of course all we do is GMO based–both food crops for home gardens as well as our full line of GMO floriculture novelties. The GMO food crops we all know and love–all high protein, high fiber. The new line of designer carrots–where we match your DNA code to the carrots, has been a huge hit. Full match will include any amino acid deficiencies that the customer may have so we remove any need to add supplemental foods to the diet. The GMO flower novelties are just starting, with our scented petunia line from Chanel–each petunia a perfect match for a Chanel fragrance. We also have high expectations for the new GMO alarm […]

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December 3, 2008

Software Partnerships And Integration

Unity within our industry is a huge catalyst for growth so we are committed to expanding our value through strategic partnerships and integrations. Our most recent partnership and integration is with Ball Seed. It will allow growers to receive purchase orders (PO) from Ball Seed, confirm plantings of POs, verify weekly availability and receive shipments all electronically over the Internet. In the future, more growers will demand from technology the ability to produce better products more efficiently. This is why we believe handhelds and production management software are the future.  In a nutshell, handhelds increase inventory visibility while reducing labor and increasing accuracy. Production management software gives growers the ability to manage production based on historical data, not just intuition, which will ultimately help grow better product with less resources. Another piece of technology on the horizon for us is the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID). With RFID, truckloads of plants […]

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December 3, 2008

Online Only: Taking A Look Back – Our First Issue Of Greenhouse Grower

Putting together our 25 anniversary issue, we’ve taken a good look at what the future holds for our industry. But it’s also a good time to look back at where we’ve come from. We’ve come a long way. Here’s a chance for you to look back with us. Take a peek at our first issue, the January 1983 issue of Greenhouse Grower, which included features on the costs and conservation of heating resources, the evolution of imports and opportunities for computerizing the greenhouse.

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December 3, 2008

Saluting Tomorrow’s Leaders

For 24 years, Greenhouse Grower has been honored to present the Grower of the Year award, recognizing growers who are moving the industry forward. The recipients have been the best and brightest in our industry and reasons why we are gung-ho looking to the next 25 years. Who will be our 25th Grower of the Year? You can help decide. To commemorate this milestone, we will take this award to a new level by presenting it during the OFA Short Course in July. This award will become part of an “Evening of Excellence” and add a strong grower component to our successful Medal of Excellence program, which recognizes innovative varieties, marketing programs and the organizations and individuals behind them. Together, Grower of the Year and our Medal of Excellence program become a fascinating floriculture hall of fame. When we consider candidates for Grower of the Year, we not only think […]

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December 3, 2008

Sizing Up Our Industry

  Crop By Crop Census of Agriculture, Census of Horticultural Specialties USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Services   Capturing the industry’s size and scope has always been an elusive task. The only national source is USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and the agency isn’t consistent in how it collects the information. For instance, the U.S. Floriculture Crops Summary used to be for 39 states and is now only for 16, which makes it hard to compare petunias to petunias from one year to the next. USDA does conduct a Census of Agriculture every five years and we’re still waiting on the 2007 results, which are due out in February at the earliest–not in time for this issue. The best part about this study is it does encompass all 50 states and is very thorough. But unfortunately, it is not handled consistently each time. For instance, in 2002 dollar sales of floriculture […]

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December 3, 2008

Oregon, Washington Nursery Associations Considering Merger

Representatives from the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) and the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association (WSNLA) are having more serious discussions about a possible merger of the two associations. The two groups had discussed the idea casually for eight or nine months. A merger makes sense for the two organizations because they share similar climates, geography and population profiles. Retailers, growers and landscapers in the states face some of the same marketing challenges, and they contend with many of the same legislative and regulatory issues. If a merger does happen, an Oregon-Washington combination could result in more than 1,800 individual members. Oregonians could draw on Washington’s strength in the retail sector, and Washingtonians could benefit from Oregon’s strength in wholesale. “A merged association would provide Oregon’s retailers and landscapers a larger community of interest with Washington retailers and landscapers,” says OAN President Tom McNabb. Tom Quigley, president of WSNLA, […]

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December 2, 2008

Irrigation Association Unveils New Brand Identity

The Irrigation Association recently has developed a new logo and tagline–”Smart practices. Sustainable solutions.”–as it expands its efforts to promote efficient irrigation and the importance of working with irrigation experts. “We need a brand that helps policymakers, consumers and those outside the irrigation industry understand who we are and what we’re about,” says Irrigation Association President Stephen W. Smith. The organization asked for input from members on its logo, and it concluded the logo no longer communicated the Irrigation Association’s role in the green industry. With its new logo and brand, the organization believes it can bring industry people together to define and implement best water management practices. For more information on the Irrigation Association, click here.

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December 2, 2008

Developing New Poinsettias

Today’s number one issue to solve is retail performance of the poinsettia. One of my biggest dreams is to see every poinsettia that is offered in the market looking as fresh as possible – not suffering shipping damage or warehouse stress – and at the same time have consumer appeal. It is interesting that this vision is not unique to today and was a vision of both my father, Paul Ecke Jr. and of my grandfather, Paul Ecke Sr. Twenty-five years can produce a lot of advancements that will help the grower be more efficient and reduce costs to produce, like having varieties that can grow at lower temperatures. Twenty-five years will provide the consumer with further exciting varieties just as we see today in ‘Ice Punch,’ ‘Jester’ and ‘Strawberries N Cream.’ As a breeder, we can already envision these products, but we hold before release, while we perfect conceptual […]

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December 2, 2008

Perennials For Plant People

Jelitto Perennial Seeds is a company of plant people. We love perennials and search the globe for durable species and rare gems, and keep our eyes on new versions of the tried and true. We currently offer more than 3,400 varieties. With 51 years in the perennial seed business, Jelitto is looking forward to the next 25 years serving the industry. As breeders, our responsibility is to provide well-tested quality plants, as well as the information to grow and market them successfully. Producing a select seed strain takes years of trials and decision-making. What finally makes it to market is Jelitto’s best effort, and one that is useful in as many gardening climates worldwide as possible. The needs of the young plant grower figures largely in our long-term breeding plans. Each year, Jelitto introduces seed items growers can adapt to their systems–easy to sow, consistent germination, good strong early growth […]

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December 2, 2008

Ravin’ Traven: No Cutting Back

Each week, wholesale grower Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm in Pennsylvania sends out an engaging and highly opinionated rant to his garden center customers along with the most current availability, order forms and pictures of plants in the greenhouse. Here is his most recent rant, in which he encourages grower-retailers to stock great plants and hope for the best rather than assume customers simply won’t buy in these uncertain times. November 28 Steely Dan had a GREAT tune called “Black Friday.” Call it up on iTunes–it’ll cheer you and get you jumping. It should be required at 7 a.m. on this day, to get your employees moving and grooving. So, it is now 2:30 on Friday, well into the day after Turkey Day, and we’re all fully awake after the turkey coma. We hope you are swamped with people spending money. By Monday, no doubt, you WILL need to […]

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December 2, 2008

Succeeding With Bedding Plants

Floriculture plants of the future must be both grower friendly and consumer friendly. Growers must make a profit on each plant they grow and consumers must be drawn to the plant on the retail shelf and receive value in postharvest and/or garden performance. The breeding at Dömmen is focused on producing plants that combine both grower and consumer traits. Important grower characteristics are disease resistance/tolerance, plants that require less greenhouse energy inputs, less plant growth regulator inputs, better branching, day-length neutral for spring plants, cold/heat tolerance, plants that fit automation, excellent shipping and excellent flower/plant “wow” on the retail shelf. Plants with these characteristics reduce production costs with more plants per square foot, less inputs of heating and cooling, less photoperiod lighting requirements, reduced chemical applications, less labor demands and reduced shrink without sacrificing the most important consumer demands. Plant characteristics important for consumers are postharvest/garden performance that include disease […]

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December 2, 2008

More Than Flying Cars

When Greenhouse Grower began in 1983, the general public started getting its hands on some of the first personal computers. Leaps in technology made the future seem limitless. Looking to the year 2000, even flying cars made sense. Asking someone to predict the next 25 years isn’t easy, especially when talking about the greenhouse industry. It requires a good deal of imagination and market know-how. For Greenhouse Grower’s anniversary issue, we asked prominent companies in the greenhouse-floriculture industry to explain where they plan to be and what new developments will make a difference for growers by the year 2033. We received some great responses, but no flying cars. They gave us something growers can actually sink their teeth into and look forward to. And it’s somewhat fitting that the bulk of our responses come from greenhouse software companies. It really is a sign of the times, isn’t it? Software Partnerships […]

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