Academic Team Dedicated To Sustainability Research

FiguFigure 1. Time to flower (marketability) of 'Single Dreams Midnight' petunia transplanted on April 1, 2010 into an unheated high tunnel or greenhouse with a temperature set point of 65°F. Plants were either fertilized with water soluble or control release fertilizers.

Purdue University’s Roberto Lopez, the University of New Hampshire’s Brian Krug, the University of Maine’s Stephanie Burnett and Cornell University’s Neil Mattson established the Floriculture Sustainability Research Coalition (FSRC) three years ago. The FSRC’s goal is to provide information to the greenhouse industry about sustainable growing and business practices through multi-state research and Extension activities. Here’s a look at yet another research group worth supporting and some of the projects they’re working on:

Low Or No-Heat Bedding Plant Production

Multi-year and collaborative research at Cornell and Purdue is shedding light on how growers in temperate climates can finish high-quality, sustainably produced bedding plants and hanging baskets with low or no heat for the Mother’s Day market. Mattson, Lopez and their students are quantifying time to flower and growth difference between bedding plants produced in a greenhouse with a temperature set point of 65°F and an unheated high tunnel.  Figure 1, for example, shows that time to flower of petunia transplanted on April 1 is only delayed by three days when produced in an unheated high tunnel.

Controlled-Release Fertilizers

Research has been conducted at New Hampshire, Cornell and Purdue on controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs) to determine how they perform against water-soluble fertilizers. The team has trialed CRFs on angelonia, argyranthemum, calibrachoa, coleus, cyclamen, diascia, garden mums, geraniums, lantana, New Guinea impatiens, petunia, poinsettia, and sutera.

When CRFs were incorporated into substrates at a rate of 1.1 pounds N/yd3, similar growth occurred with CRFs compared to using a constant liquid feed program of 200 ppm N (Figure 2).

Organic Substrates & Fertilizers

Research at Maine and Cornell has determined appropriate fertilizers and substrates for use in organic greenhouse production. Fertilizing plants with Drammatic ONE and Daniels Pinnacle resulted in similar growth of tomato and petunia compared to plants fertigated with 21-5-20. Leaching of nitrate and ammonium was lower in organic fertilizers compared to the conventional fertilizer. However, the cost of liquid organic fertilizers was 5.0 to 7.8 cents per pot compared to 0.7 cents per pot for conventional fertilizers.

The FSRC team has used a variety of organic substrates to produce plants, including Fafard and SunGro organic. If growers wish to produce plants in a substrate with higher fertility to offset the cost of organic liquid fertilizers, a 1:1:1 mixture of peat, perlite and compost provides about four weeks of fertility. The team also recommends growers use the Solvita test kit to ensure they use a mature compost.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Academic Team Dedicated To Sustainability Research

More From Grow Initiative...
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The Gaillardia

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Annual Meeting Date

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
Evolvulus Blue My Mind

February 24, 2015

Blue Ribbon Bloomers For Greenhouse Production

Grow what consumers want! Surveys show that blue is one of the top preferred colors of today’s consumers. Here are twelve top recommended blue-flowering Proven Winners annuals and perennials to suit your spring production cycle.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 12, 2015

GROW Perspective: What Is It You Do Again?

The industry is very good at talking about what we do and how we do it, but has almost completely lost touch with talking about why this work is important. As an industry, we need to promote our professions as vital to healthier living.

Read More
bee photo

February 11, 2015

26 Ways Growers Improve The Green Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW Initiative’s five pillars: How are you driving consumer success, cultivating new customers, demanding quality, investing in the industry and sharpening business management? Through your candid responses, we learned about some of the ideas you’ve implemented and steps you’re taking for 2015. Here are just a few.

Read More
Noble Foundation

February 3, 2015

Lloyd Noble Scholars Program Application Period Now Ope…

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation is offering college students an opportunity to work side-by-side with the Noble Foundation’s renowned agricultural consultants and researchers through the Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture program, a summer internship that provides students the opportunity to enhance their in-class education with real-world application and experiences.

Read More

January 7, 2015

GROW Summit 2014 Homes In On The Issues That Keep You U…

During Greenhouse Grower’s third annual GROW Summit in December a number of ideas, questions and calls-to-action transpired. Here are a few of the highlights.

Read More
GROW Logo

January 6, 2015

Growers Resolve To Educate Public About Their Operation…

See what growers plan to work on for their 2015 business resolutions.

Read More

December 22, 2014

National Garden Bureau Launches Therapeutic Garden Prog…

National Garden Bureau has chosen the Growing Solutions Farm in Chicago as the first beneficiary of its annual fundraising effort "Growing For Futures."

Read More

December 19, 2014

Hydroponic Food Production Course Serves Up Life Lesson…

Students in the new HORT 331X Hydroponic Food Crop Production course at Iowa State University are producing more food than they can eat, so they began donating the vegetables they produce to a local food pantry and free meal program.

Read More
GROW Logo

December 8, 2014

“The Cheapest Generation” Will Be Tomorrow&…

Members of the Millennial generation aren’t buying cars and houses the way their parents did, and according to a recent article from The Atlantic titled “The Cheapest Generation,” it might be more than an effect of a bad economy. So what does this mean for horticulture? Industry members weigh in.

Read More
Katie Nickolaus

November 25, 2014

Proven Winners Names 2014 Scholarship Winners

Looking to promote industry leaders of the future, Proven Winners has established a $15,000 scholarship program that awards students in three distinct areas - breeding, marketing and growing.

Read More

November 24, 2014

GROW Perspective: We Need To Think Bigger

Garry Grueber of Cultivaris and Global Breadfruit says the horticulture industry must evolve to help solve the problems of world hunger and food insecurity.

Read More

November 13, 2014

NY SunWorks’ Greenhouse Project Aims To Build 100 Labs …

NY SunWork's Greenhouse Project aims to build 100 labs by 2020. With 15 greenhouse project labs built and 11 more in development, it’s on its way to reaching that goal.

Read More

November 4, 2014

Millennials Rank Gardening Among Top 5 Leisure Activiti…

United Kingdom consumers, aged 25 to 35, have rated gardening as a top five favorite leisure activity.

Read More
Ken Altman

October 27, 2014

GROW Perspective: Why I Give Back To The Industry

Ken Altman of Altman Plants knows a thing or two about the green industry, including the importance of contributing to the industry he loves.

Read More

October 21, 2014

Plants, Gardens Of The Future Will Be Radically Differe…

Over the next 20 to 30 years, Garry Grueber of Cultivaris and Global Breadfruit says the horticulture industry will need to address such issues as population growth, feeding a hungry world, less availability of water and land resources, rampant climate change and increased focus on the environment and sustainability.

Read More

October 13, 2014

Costa Farms Celebrates Indoor Plant Week With A College…

Cost Farms kicks off 2014 Indoor Plant Week by sharing plants with college students amid song and dance.

Read More

October 7, 2014

Ohio State Horticulture Senior Receives Prestigious Shi…

Amy Miller, a senior majoring in horticulture at The Ohio State University, is the recipient of the 2014-15 Shinoda Scholar of the Year award.

Read More

September 2, 2014

Svensson Film Raises Awareness of Global Production Cha…

Anders Ludvigson, Svensson’s executive vice president, is on a mission to raise awareness of the challenge growers have producing more food using fewer resources. To start, he set out with a film crew to explore some of the climates where commercial greenhouse growers use the company’s products.

Read More

September 2, 2014

Six Lessons Learned From LeBron’s Decision 2.0

Die-hard Cavaliers fan and Cleveland native Bill Calkins explains how the headline-making decision LeBron James’ made to leave the Miami Heat and play in his hometown relates to your business.

Read More