May 22, 2014
Six Ways To Increase Energy Efficiency In The Greenhouse
As the spring season starts to wind down, it is never a bad time to look back at the last couple of months to evaluate what changes you might consider for next year. There is no better time than the off-season to make these changes for the next spring season. Few things you do will have a greater effect on your operation than how proficient you are with energy efficiency. In this installment of Basics and Beyond, we will look at a few items you should consider to save energy in the greenhouse, most of which will cost very little and will pay for themselves well within the first season if you implement them.
September 12, 2013
Greenhouse Growing Goes Electronic With Online Tools And Education
The world around us is moving faster and faster everyday. Just think of what you can do with your phone these days. Talk, surf the web, check eMail, snap photos, shoot video, play games — the list grows everyday. In this article, I will cover some of the ways that growers can harness this fast-paced world and the technologies that go with it. Do any of these describe you? 1) You went to college to learn to be a grower, but clothes styles have changed at least twice since you graduated. 2) You never went to college but you’ve been working in a greenhouse for years and learned with dirt under your fingernails. 3) You just got into this industry and are feeling overwhelmed with everything you have to learn. Regardless of your level of expertise, many of us find it necessary to go back to the basics and re-learn, […]
April 19, 2013
DLICALC Online Tool Helps Growers Caculate Daily Light Integral
Managing all the different environmental and cultural aspects of greenhouse crop production can be an intimidating and daunting task, especially during the peak production season. But it’s necessary to produce a high-quality, salable plant. The greenhouse is full of moving targets, from root zone pH and EC to plant growth, air temperature and light. Managing each of the parameters of greenhouse crop production to consistently produce quality crops on time can be a challenge. Thankfully, the development of decision-support tools can aid greenhouse growers. GROCALC is a suite of electronic grower decision support tools that include ALKCALC, FERTCALC and PGRCALC. These programs are useful for making calculations related to greenhouse crop culture including water acidification requirements, fertilizer solution and plant growth regulator (PGR) mixing. However, there are few or no tools available to help make calculations related to the greenhouse light environment. Although light is frequently discussed in terms of […]
October 24, 2012
How To Take A Water Sample
It is important to test your irrigation water on a regular basis, so you know what your water quality is and if any corrective treatments are needed. When And How Often It is always a good idea to test your water whenever you start using a new water source. Take another test if there are drastic changes in seasonal water availability due to a drought or high amounts of rainfall. These events can affect your water quality, especially if you are using a well or surface water for irrigating. Growers that produce year round should plan on testing their water twice a year, once in the winter and once in the summer. Seasonal growers should test their water just before the growing season. Getting Started Before you take your water sample, be sure to have a few materials gathered. You will need access to your water source, and a hose […]
September 5, 2012
Smart Greenhouse Heating Saves Money
As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, it’s a perfect time to start thinking about how to reduce your energy consumption this winter. There are a number of relatively simple methods you can use. The installation of thermal energy curtains has been popular in recent years due to the substantial energy savings associated with them. They can serve double duty in the spring and summer as retractable shade curtains. Energy curtains can be expensive. For example, a grower installed a 40-foot-by-78-foot energy curtain for the price of $12,000. If the grower heats the greenhouse without the curtain from January 1 to May 31 at a temperature of 65°F, it would cost almost $24,000 to heat. With the curtain, it only costs about $17,000. At the time of installation, heating oil cost $3.10 per gallon. The grower saved about $6,600 per year, making the payback on investment in less than […]
August 13, 2012
Bedding Plants and CRFs
While controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs) are not a recent addition to a grower’s toolbox, they are not nearly as common as traditional water-soluble fertilizers (WSF). Many growers comment that they don’t want to lose the control they have with traditional WSF programs. However, new formulations and technologies in CRF manufacturing, along with a desire for alternative methods of delivering mineral nutrients, have led to increased interest in using CRFs. The experiments below focus on using CRFs in greenhouse propagation and finishing of short-term bedding plant crops. How Fertilizer Studies During Propagation Were Conducted At Purdue, cuttings of several cultivars of angelonia, geranium, nemesia, New Guinea impatiens and petunia were stuck in 105-cell propagation trays filled with 3 parts soilless substrate and 1 part perlite. The trays either contained no fertilizer charge or 5, 10, 20 or 40 pounds of Osmocote Plus 15-9-12 with micros CRF per cubic yard of substrate. This […]
August 6, 2012
Potted Plants On CRFs
After seeing how bedding plants are affected by controlled-release fertilizers, three separate studies were conducted to show how the use of these fertilizers influenced the production of potted plants. The Poinsettia Experiments Rooted liners of ‘Premium Red’ poinsettias were potted into 4.5-inch containers filled with a commercial soilless substrate that was amended with CRFs: Osmocote Plus 15-9-12 and Osmocote Plus 16-9-12 applied at a rate of 7.9 and 7.4 pounds per square yard (lbs./yd³), respectively, and Nutricote 20-7-10 at 5.9 lbs./yd³. For comparison, a treatment of constant water soluble fertilizer (WSF) [15-4-15 Poinsettia FeED at 150 ppm nitrogen (N)] was also included. The plants were watered using drip irrigation as needed throughout the experiment, and a leaching fraction between 20 to 25 percent was maintained and adjusted weekly to accommodate for plant growth. Total leachate was also collected from the treatments and analyzed for nutrients each week. A second poinsettia […]
July 9, 2012
Tips For Controlling The Greenhouse Environment
Controlling the environment in a greenhouse can look fairly simple in some cases, and many of us don’t give it a lot of thought. When the temperature dips below or above certain points, we know how to turn on the heat or fans, respectively. Simple right? Well, to a certain point, but by studying a greenhouse’s environment, we realize that there is actually an intricate dance going on between many systems, even in a small hoophouse, to ensure the delivery of optimal conditions to our crops. Here are some of the principles and practices that will help maintain proper greenhouse temperatures and conditions. Greenhouse Volume And Size Matter The size and height of a greenhouse (think about overall volume) can have an effect on how it heats and cools. Two greenhouses with the same footprint but different gutter heights will have different air volumes inside the greenhouse, and the one […]
January 6, 2012
Height Control For Easter Lilies
Flurprimidol drenches have been shown to successfully control height of oriental lilies and Dutch bulbs such as hyacinth, narcissus and tulips, but there is no data that shows how effective flurprimidol drenches are on Easter lilies. Researchers decided to find out.
July 27, 2010
Using The Plant Growth Regulator Calculator
Rounding out the GroCALC software package, PGRCALC is the third and final program that has been updated in the past few months. The calculator has been updated from a Microsoft Excel-based program to a Web-based application that does not require a user download. If you are currently using PGRCALC, you know how this tool can give you confidence in your PGR applications. If you are not familiar with PGRCALC, you will soon realize how easy and quick it is to calculate the amounts of a PGR and water you need to mix for any application. PGRCALC will calculate the amount of an individual PGR product to add to a volume of water to obtain a desired concentration. In addition, it will also calculate the cost of the total application and cost per pot. Getting Started To use the new version of PGRCALC, point your Internet browser to www.nhfloriculture.com. You will […]
July 27, 2010
Revisiting Poinsettia Cold Finishing Up North
As growers, we continue to look for methods to reduce costs while still producing high-quality crops. This is especially true when growing poinsettias, as margins continue to grow thin and competition gets stronger. Growing poinsettias at cool temperatures has emerged as an option over the past several years to reduce heating costs. The University of New Hampshire and Purdue University have been conducting research on a method we call cold finishing. Instead of turning down the thermostat for the entire production cycle of the crop, the temperatures are lowered during the latter portion of the cycle only, when the bulk of the heating costs are incurred. This also allows you to take advantage of the naturally warm temperatures in August, September and early October to bulk up plants before initiating short days. How Cold Finishing Works In the trials we’ve conducted, plants were grown according to a traditional crop schedule […]
May 25, 2010
A Quick And Useful Fertilizer Tool
If you have tried to use the fertilizer calculator (FertCALC) from North Carolina State University in the last couple years, you were probably disappointed it no longer worked. The problem occurred when Microsoft updated Excel. FertCALC was no longer compatible with Excel. Fortunately, a solution has been developed with the support of the Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation. And for those of you who’ve never used FertCALC, welcome to the newly redesigned application. Getting Started FertCALC is an application that easily calculates the amount of water-soluble fertilizer you need to add to water to supply your crops with a desired level of nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium. The application will also calculate the amount of secondary and micronutrients, nutrients added by acid injection and the fertilizer cost. Unlike the previous version of FertCALC, the application no longer needs to be downloaded from the Internet – it is embedded into a website. To […]
April 15, 2010
Using The Alkalinity Calculator
If you have tried to use the Greenhouse Media Lab Acid Addition Calculator, the alkalinity calculator from Purdue University and North Carolina State University in the last couple years, you may be disappointed that it no longer worked. The problem lies in the fact that when Microsoft updated Excel, the alkalinity calculator was no longer compatible with the program’s latest version. Fortunately, a solution was developed with the support of the Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation. If you’ve never used the alkalinity calculator, then welcome to the redesigned alkalinity calculator, AlkCALC. AlkCALC is an application that easily calculates the amount of nitric, phosphoric or sulfuric acid required to neutralize alkalinity in your irrigation water to a desired level. In addition, it will determine the amount of nutrients added by acid injection and the cost of your specific acid injection needs. Getting Started Unlike previous alkalinity calculators, AlkCALC does not need to […]
April 22, 2017
American Floral Endowment Announces Winners of 2017 Pau…
Four students pursuing careers in horticulture now have scholarships to help them along the way, thanks to the American Floral Endowment.
April 20, 2017
Terra Nova Nurseries Releases Two New, Attractive Begon…
Stardust is the latest addition to Terra Nova Nurseries’ existing T Rex Begonia series, and Silver is the first introduction to the company’s new Spectre Begonia series.
April 19, 2017
Suppliers Can Offer Technical Solutions for New Cannabi…
Here’s a look at how a few manufacturers have partnered with growers to make their transition into cannabis a smooth one, whether it’s through hands-on guidance or partnering with other industry leaders.
April 18, 2017
Cool Combos From CAST 2017 – Editor’s Choic…
With container gardening becoming more of a lifestyle among consumers than a trend, and breeders continuing to put more effort in container mixes and components, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't share some of the special combinations that not only caught my eye at California Spring Trials, but absolutely took my breath away and made me want to immediately get started gardening.
April 17, 2017
LumiGrow’s Latest Lighting Research Highlighted in Grow…
Industry leaders representing a broad range of vegetable, floriculture, and cannabis producers gathered to learn how to implement modern lighting strategies for their own production.
April 16, 2017
Danziger Invests in Continued North American Business G…
As part of a new business structure for its North American market, Mike Fernandez has been appointed Market Manager North America for Bedding Plants and Perennials, and Kate Zvara was named as Key Account Manager and Retail Specialist.
April 15, 2017
How Oregon Growers Are Making Lean Improvements With He…
The Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium recently helped two Pacific Northwest growers realize significant productivity gains and labor savings.
April 14, 2017
How to Trial a New Product Before You Use It in Your Gr…
Before you apply a new product on a plant, you want to make sure it is safe and effective. Technical experts from Kemin have compiled a five-step guide designed to help you measure the benefits of a new product you want to incorporate into your operation.
April 13, 2017
AmericanHort’s Production Technology Conference To Debu…
The AmericanHort Production Technology Conference is designed to give nursery and greenhouse growers a chance to get hands-on with the latest advancements in production technology and explore the return on investment potential of equipment purchases and upgrades.
April 13, 2017
Research Team Seeking Feedback From Hydroponic Growers
Are you a hydroponic grower of food crops? If so, Michigan State University and Iowa State University researchers are looking for your input.
April 12, 2017
Looking for Info on New Varieties for Hot Climates? Che…
The Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s Florida Flower Trials, which are focused on new and improved varieties able to thrive in the extremes of Florida’s climate, are a great opportunity to connect with national breeders.
April 11, 2017
Begonias, Celosias Among Dr. Allan Armitage’s Favorites…
Check out some of Allan’s top picks from his final day at CAST 2017, which included visits to Green Fuse Botanicals and Floranova.
April 11, 2017
Green Fuse Botanicals’ Rex Begonias and First Looks; Fl…
Here are the highlights from Green Fuse Botanicals and Floranova on the last day of CAST 2017.
April 11, 2017
New Infographic Highlights Economic Impact of Plants
A new report from the National Institute for Consumer Horticulture shows how horticulture positively affects people’s lives wherever they live, work, shop, and play.