New Way To Grow Combos
A look at Selecta's Trixi 2.0 plus new propagation techniques Paul Ecke Ranch and Ball Horticultural Company developed.
May 26, 2011
The beauty of greenhouse innovation is it never stops developing, whether you're improving the genetics of an existing variety, introducing a groundbreaking new plant or coming up with a system that virtually changes the way growers do their jobs.
The new Trixi 2.0 will certainly change the way Selecta's growers do business. Rather than root three cuttings into a single combo liner, Selecta came up with a method to root individual cuttings in 209 trays for three weeks and then move them into a newly developed tray that fuses the three cuttings together like a battery pack.
Selecta will be moving entirely to Trixi 2.0, which launches with 19 combination options. Ball FloraPlant's MixMasters, which features 15 different combos, is getting the same treatment.
The biggest advantage of Trixi 2.0, Selecta's Stefan Reiner says, is growers get 100 percent root take. With the original Trixi, there were times growers would lose one or two three of the three cuttings within liners. The new method gives roots three weeks to develop before cuttings are combined into that newly developed tray.
Another benefit of Trixi 2.0 is endless combination options. "You can do crazy mixes in the future, including seed items, grasses, ipomoea - all is possible to be done in the Trixi," Reiner says.
Speeding Up Propagation
Another exciting innovation unveiled at Spring Trials is the Ecke Snap (ES) system from Ecke Ranch.
Four weeks on the bench while applying heat and mist is typically the norm in propagation. Now, Ecke is putting growers in a position to speed up the process with the development of the ES system, which starts with growers receiving pre-stuck callused cuttings in ES media and trays (ES78) directly from Ecke Ranch's offshore farms.
"What we're doing in Ecke Snap 78 is pre-filling a tray out of Guatemala. We add the media and pre-stick the callused cutting prior to leaving Guatemala," says Steve Rinehart, COO at Ecke Ranch.
The ES system eliminates phases of the propagation process, putting growers in a position to simply apply two weeks of bench heat and mist before moving directly into the transplanting.
Ball FloraPlant also introduced a propagation innovation this year in its Genesis cuttings for geraniums and osteospermums. Genesis cuttings arrive ready to direct stick into finished containers, cutting propagation time by 10 to 14 days. The grower benefits are shortened crop time, reduced input costs as a result of that shortened crop time and, ideally, less shrink.
"You can direct stick in 4.5-inch pots, for example and finish in eight weeks compared to a traditional unrooted cutting that takes about 10," says Kris Carlsson, Ball FloraPlants's geranium product manager.
Another Spring Trials exhibitor, Jiffy, introduced its new Jiffy-Mix, which blends Canadian and European peat. There are seven standard mixes plus a seedling mix under the Jiffy-Mix label. This particular mix is special because European peat is cut in blocks, whose long fibers improve air-to-water ratios and reduce the need for perlite and other amendments.