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 […]

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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

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 […]

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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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December 23, 2009

Checking In With Rocket Farms

Based in Salinas, Calif., Rocket Farms is the largest poinsettia grower on the West Coast, devoting 4.4 million square feet of greenhouse space to producing the signature Christmas crop. Sales Manager Doug Brothers shares the trends from this season. Outside of floriculture, Rocket Farms is known for vegetable transplants. Poinsettias were its first big floriculture crop and the company has since expanded into phalaenopsis orchids. Rocket Farms is unique from most large operations growing poinsettias in that it still grows and maintains mother stock plants to take cuttings from instead of receiving cuttings from offshore.  As the season was getting under way Dec. 8, Brothers shared details on this year’s crop and retail demand. GG: How many poinsettias will Rocket Farms produce this year?  1,400,000 – In what sizes?   2.5″–4.5″–5″–6.5″–8″–10″  – Colors?  72 percent red, 28 percent colors.    – Varieties?  Too many to list..  Including red, we grow 45 different varieties from four different […]

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December 22, 2009

Five Questions With … Denise Godfrey

Denise Godfrey of Olive Hill Greenhouses in Fallbrook, Calif., shares her take on the state of the industry this week. How would you describe the state of the greenhouse floriculture industry today? Like the rest of the economic sectors, we are suffering from decreased demand and we hope to maintain during this uncertainty by looking at old and new ideas and technology; by relying more on relationships and working together with fellow growers, suppliers and customers to better define and react to what is happening; to take advantage of opportunities; and to maintain a positive outlook in order to overcome adversity and persevere. Has our industry entered a new era or paradigm shift? Please explain why or why not. We no longer grow in a vacuum, growing and selling plants and the customer deciding their purchase on beauty and a fair price. The public is having more and more influence […]

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December 22, 2009

Not Shipoopi – ‘Fubuki!’

In Japan, “Fubuki” means “snowstorm.” So ‘Fubuki,’ the new Hakonechloa ornamental grass from Briggs Nursery featuring white variegated Japanese Forest grass, lives up to its name. The contrasting tones of white and green foliage endure throughout the summer making Hakonechloa macra ‘Fubuki’ an outstanding plant for shade gardeners and partial sun locations. And for even greater impact, as soon as the weather changes in autumn, ‘Fubuki’ reveals a stunning pink color among the blades. “Our never-before-seen white Hakonechloa is a striking superior form adding unique sculptural features and wonderful color to landscapes,” says Dave Jarzynka, president of Briggs Nursery. ‘Fubuki’ is a compact and mounding habit plant that tends to be lower in height than comparable cultivars and reaches 14 by 18 inches. ‘Fubuki’ makes a great choice for beds, borders, as a specimen or grouped with three to five plants. It grows best in USDA Zone 5. For more […]

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December 21, 2009

Emerald Coast Growers Taps Friel For Marketing

Emerald Coast Growers has hired John Friel as its marketing manager. Friel brings over 30 years experience in the greenhouse industry to his new position. A familiar face on the lecture circuit, Friel served in a number of positions in transportation, sales and marketing with Green Leaf Enterprises, Yoder Brothers and the Green Leaf Plants division of Aris Horticulture. Emerald Coast Growers is a family-owned propagation nursery headquartered in Pensacola, Fla, with greenhouses in Lancaster County, Pa. Founded in 1991 by David and Wyona Babikow, the firm specializes in starter plants of ornamental grasses and herbaceous perennials, which it ships throughout North America. Friel is a former regional director and current president elect of the Perennial Plant Association. For more information on him or Emerald Coast Growers, visit ECGrowers.com.

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December 21, 2009

Wishing Will Well

A friend to hundreds of growers across the country, Will Carlson was hospitalized with a serious illness in late November. Will retired from Michigan State University in 2002 and has been active in his retirement writing his column for Greenhouse Grower, “One to Grow On,” and consulting for growers. This March will mark 36 years Will has been writing columns for Greenhouse Grower and before that American Vegetable Grower–a wonderful record of service to the horticulture industry. While Will recovers, we will be publishing a few of his best columns that continue to stand the test of time. These can also be found in the book we published in 2003, “One To Grow On.” Will’s friends and loved ones are pulling for his recovery. Cards may be sent to his home at 6330 Pine Hollow Drive, East Lansing, MI 48823. While Will recovers, he asks growers interested in getting in […]

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