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 […]

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December 28, 2009

Sakata Skipping Spring Trials

Sakata, breeder of genetics like the SunPatiens series, Profusion zinnias and Festival gerberas, is changing its approach to marketing trials. Sakata will not take part in the 2010 California Spring Trials and will focus on multiple events at venues in both North America and Europe. Here is a snapshot of some of the marketing events Sakata is planning in 2010. December 2009–January 2010: Sakata Primula Trial, The Netherlands June 2010: Sakata Week 24 European Flower Trials, The Netherlands June 2010: Sakata Warm Crops Focus Event, Southeastern United States July 2010: OFA Short Course, Columbus, Ohio July 2010: Sakata Lisianthus Trial, Nagano Misato, Japan August 2010: Sakata Warm Crops Focus Event, Midwestern U.S. August 2010: Sakata Gerbera Focus Event, Midwestern U.S. September 2010: Sakata Cool Crops Focus Event, West Coast, U.S. September 2010: Sakata Gerbera Focus Event, West Coast, U.S. October 2010: Sakata Pansy Event, Holland November 2010: Sakata Autumn Pack […]

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December 28, 2009

State Of The Industry: Overview

Last year was hardly a cakewalk for growers. In fact, some will argue it was the most challenging they’ve ever faced. The weather was uncooperative in certain regions, competition became a bigger challenge for more growers, and labor, energy and input costs didn’t provide many breaks.  Download: The Complete Greenhouse Grower State Of The Industry Report You’ve read the highlights and analysis, but there’s much more information available from the 2010 Greenhouse Grower State Of The Industry survey. Click here for our 12-page State of the Industry white paper and find out in their own words what growers think are their opportunities and challenges, and the hottest trends for 2010.   No greenhouse operation is immune to these challenges − although some face them with more ease than others − as we saw El Modeno Gardens, a Top 100 Grower, close its doors along with other operations in 2009. Times […]

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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 […]

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December 28, 2009

New Perennials For 2010

Here are a few new perennials mail-order nursery Wayside Gardens is introducing for 2010. Hosta ‘Mighty Mouse’ In early summer, abundant lavender blooms on 12-inch scapes top the foliage, luring hummingbirds to come feast in the shade. The leaves remain until winter frost, always looking their best. This Hosta earns its name with very substantial, thick leaves that resist nibbling from snails and slugs, but its best merit is its lovely variegation. In spring the leaves are bold blue-green with a creamy yellow edging; by summer they have become gray-green and the variegation is creamy white, but it is still constant, refusing to green out even in hot climates. Echinacea ‘Coral Reef’ Not only are these blooms brilliantly colored, at 4 inches wide they’re quite large, and they release a lovely spicy-honey fragrance that is quite noticeable in the garden as well as in the vase. Expect the flowers to […]

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December 28, 2009

State Of The Industry: Leaders Sound Off

So many questions, so many different answers. Determining whether the state of our industry is good, bad or something else is a mighty challenge when you take into account the fact that growers, retailers and others have vastly different opinions on the issues pressing us most. Business may be booming for some yet hard to come by for others, and a challenge to one grower may be the least of another’s worries. To give you an idea where people in the industry stand, we approached growers and others with five questions about the state of greenhouse floriculture in 2010. Most of those we approached expressed concerns about the state of things. But here’s what they said − in their own words. How would you describe the state of the greenhouse floriculture industry today?   Fran HopkinsPresident, Under A Foot Plant CompanyIn complete disarray and total pandemonium. I must say this […]

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December 28, 2009

Understanding Plant Nutrition: Geranium Nutrition

Seed and zonal geraniums are iron-efficient crops that are prone to iron/manganese toxicity when the media-pH gets too low. Once plants show toxicity symptoms of necrotic spots and marginal burn (Figure 1), the affected leaves do not completely heal. The only options become shipping lower-quality plants–to take additional time to produce healthy new growth that will cover the older damaged foliage–or throwing plants away.  Therefore, the best approach is to prevent iron/manganese toxicity (and low media-pH) from occurring. Here are some pointers for growing geraniums: Pointers - With normal fertilization practices, the acceptable pH range for iron-efficient crops like geraniums is 6.0 to 6.6.   - Pre-test your root medium to determine its acceptability for growing geraniums. Often, moistening the media to near container capacity and giving it three to seven days to incubate allows the limestone a chance to react and gives a more realistic starting pH measurement than […]

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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 […]

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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. Download: The Complete Greenhouse Grower State Of The Industry Report You’ve read the highlights and analysis, but there’s much more information available from the 2010 Greenhouse Grower State Of The Industry survey. Click here for our 12-page State of the Industry white paper and find out in their own words what growers think are their opportunities and challenges, and the hottest trends for 2010. 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. […]

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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 […]

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