December 28, 2009

Open Your Mind To Open Roof

Why spend thousands of dollars every month to cool a greenhouse with exhaust fans when nature can do it for free? An open-roof greenhouse can drive down your energy costs significantly–but for many, this option has been priced out of reach.      No More Teardown It is no longer necessary to tear down a 30-year-old building and invest in a new structure to increase plant quality or decrease operating costs. With a Sun Ridge vent, it is possible to transform an outdated greenhouse into a modern, efficient growing environment. From pansies to poinsettias or wholesale to retail, the Sun Ridge is an upgrade for any greenhouse. A little money goes a long way with the Sun Ridge. Requiring the same motors as a traditional roof vent, the Sun Ridge more than doubles a grower’s vent opening without doubling a grower’s investment in equipment.  Are you planning to change your […]

Read More

December 28, 2009

Slideshow: Oglesby Plants International

Take a quick behind-the-scenes look at Oglesby Plants International.

Read More

December 28, 2009

Quantifying The Quality

For greenhouse growers, the U.S. Green Building Council is a tough nut to crack, especially when it comes to its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process. LEED is a prestigious third-party certification program and a national benchmark that promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability in five key areas of human and environmental health, says Dr. Bodie Pennisi, Horticulture Department, University of Georgia. These five areas include: LEED development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. This certification lacks any official agricultural connection to indoor plants and the role they play in improving human health by improving indoor air quality, Pennisi says. Green Plants For Green Buildings (GPGB) President Mike Lewis adds, “Ironically enough, you can have the greenest building on the planet and do not have a single living plant in it. Isn’t that weird? “If you look at the ads and catalogs of […]

Read More

December 28, 2009

Dutch Horticultural Developments

The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of The Netherlands brought horticulture magazine editors from around the world together in October to showcase the latest innovations, systems and technologies Dutch growers currently employ. Editors visited Horti Fair, the FloraHolland Trade Fair and the Dutch Flower Auction, among other places throughout The Netherlands. We present the highlights here, and you’ll find more Dutch horticultural developments at GreenhouseGrower.com/OnLocation/International. Horti Fair’s Top Product Labor is a killer, right? It might even be the biggest issue your greenhouse operation deals with. But if you’re a Phalaenopsis orchid grower and you didn’t attend Horti Fair, you’re likely unaware of Hortiquip, a Dutch company that recently designed a labor-saving machine for you. Hortiquip’s new machine is a staking machine, and it uses laser technology to position stakes to support plants, including the automatic attachment of clips. It works something like this: Imagine you’ve potted your […]

Read More

December 28, 2009

Make It Happen Again

Every obstacle presents an opportunity. Our industry has taken advantage of opportunities before, and now we have to do it again. At Christmas, you could see big changes in approach occurring at the major retailers. The major Christmas toy sales started in mid-October, and the major toy stores and mega-chains started selling toys at year-end prices. Walmart had a Black Friday sale that lasted all day and all night. Brand name toys were selling at $10 apiece, with hundreds of different toys priced in this range. Kmart advertised layaway plans with little or no interest that attracted many early buyers and also helped them pay for purchases made in October over a three-month period. If you read any of the business magazines, you’ve realized the large retailers were going to get their product early and sell as much as they could at discount prices. Their goal was to make certain […]

Read More

December 28, 2009

State Of The Industry: Life After Walmart

When Walmart hit the garden center scene a couple decades ago, a few growers saw an opportunity for growth and pounced on it. Then, as Walmart’s garden center business began to boom, more growers jumped on the bandwagon, creating a Walmart network over the years that included a few hundred growers. Over the last couple years, though, Walmart’s grower network has dwindled to fewer than 40 select growers. Complexity and costs in the supply chain led to consolidation, which came as a surprise to many of the growers who built their businesses over the years with Walmart. Recovery hasn’t been a smooth road for the growers pushed out of Walmart’s network, but there are opportunities to be had. And in some cases, those opportunities still involve Walmart. Case in point: Dan & Jerry’s Greenhouses in Monticello, Minn. “We are actually doing a small amount of contract growing with Walmart to […]

Read More

December 28, 2009

Brookwood Community and We Grow Dreams Enrich Lives Of Employees

  Most garden centers have goals such as increased profit, retailing quality plants and even enhancing the lives of customers by providing beautiful plants. The Brookwood Community in Brookshire, Texas, and We Grow Dreams in West Chicago, Ill., are two garden centers with those same goals, but they share an additional goal that differentiates them from the average garden center. They strive, above all, to enhance the quality of life of disabled adults by providing meaningful job opportunities. The Brookwood Community and We Grow Dreams share many commonalities. They were both founded by parents of disabled individuals who were faced with few opportunities for a work life after they passed school age. They are both not-for-profit organizations, raising operational funds largely from plant sales and donations and neither accepts government subsidies. The Brookwood Community Founded in 1985, the 475-acre Brookwood Community is a God-centered educational, residential and entrepreneurial community for […]

Read More

December 28, 2009

State Of The Industry: Survival Of The Fittest

Do you expect your greenhouse operation to survive 2010? Odds are your answer is yes, judging from the responses we got from growers who took our survey on the state of the industry in November. In fact, the overwhelming majority of growers (92 percent) anticipate their operation being around in 2011. Eight percent of growers, however, aren’t sure they’ll be around in another 12 months, and more growers are getting vocal about their uncertainty or displeasure over the state of our industry–and the direction we’re headed. “There is too much competition driving the price down,” says Alice Longfellow, owner of Longfellow’s Garden Center, a small grower-retailer in Missouri. “There is a small selling window and if weather delays that, everyone panics and cuts their prices. Box stores are not doing anyone any favors.” Despite the price cutting Longfellow describes, the overwhelming majority of growers have not lowered their prices in […]

Read More

December 28, 2009

Talking Shop: Injecting Fertilizer

One of the time-honored and automatic points of interest for most growers is the fertilizer-injection area. Think about it: After the central boiler room, fertilizer injection and associated water treatment is usually viewed as ground zero for most of the production practices that occur downstream. It’s highly unlikely we’ve toured a range without purposefully seeking out its injector and accompanying stock tanks, intuitively inspecting the setup and mentally comparing it to our own back home. Issues related to water quality and delivery have increased dramatically in recent years, particularly as they relate to recirculating irrigation systems. Algae and microbial contamination have become relentless challenges, not only where irrigation water is reused but even in traditional, one-directional delivery systems. Greenhouse operators are often characterized as being ingenious, practical and observant. Given these attributes, how are operators integrating new systems and knowledge in the area of water management and chemical injection to […]

Read More