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November 1, 2013

Berger Acquires Beaver & Lafaille Peat Moss

Berger, a producer of growing mixes, has acquired Beaver Peat Moss & Lafaille Peat Moss, consolidating a long-standing relationship between the companies. The transaction is effective on November 1, 2013. Under the agreement, Serge Lafaille, Beaver & Lafaille Peat Moss’ president, will join Berger’s sales team in order to ensure an easy transition for his current customers. “I am proud to join Berger’s team; we have the same business and growing philosophy, as well as a relentless commitment to being close to our customers in order to offer them what they truly need,” Lafaille says. Berger and Beaver & Lafaille Peat Moss have been partners since 1986. “For Berger, this transaction is a natural evolution of the strong relationship we’ve created with Beaver & Lafaille Peat Moss throughout the past 27 years,” says Berger CEO Claudin Berger. Located in St-Modeste, Quebec, Berger provides growing media and peat moss to professional […]

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August 19, 2013

Students Evaluate Bio Char In Soil

Horticulture students from Olds College in Alberta, Canada, are investigating the viability of using bio char as a soil additive for greenhouse-grown crops. The group includes Emily Stanley, Michael Templeton and Heather Hood. Olds has a very good horticulture program, and I graduated from the greenhouse program there in 1996. Because of my involvement in the program, the group approached me to be a mentor for the study. In this role, I had conference calls with the group every two weeks to discuss the status of the project and offer any insight from a professional grower’s perspective. Bio char is a product derived from a special burning process of organic matter with limited amounts of oxygen. This holds the carbon in the organic matter. When the process is finished, you have a bio char product that can be used as a soil amendment. The students conducted trials on tomatoes and […]

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June 6, 2013

Pro-Mix Is Now On Social Media

Premier Tech Horticulture, which is among the North American leaders of peat moss-based growing media production and distribution, has recently announced the launch of its social media strategy, including the unveiling of its Pro-Mix Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages for professional and amateur gardeners. Known as a customer-focused and market-driven company, Premier Tech Horticulture strongly believes that today, people are expecting constant interactive communication with brands. As a result, interacting and communicating with external audiences through both new and traditional media remain important elements. Now, with Pro-Mix, this dialogue will also take place online, via new social media platforms that are easy to access for everybody. “These Pro-Mix social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, blogs, wikis, YouTube, etc.) present us with unique opportunities to listen to our customers and stakeholders, but also to share with people our 20 years of experience, knowledge and expertise,” says Chantal Duchesneau, marketing and […]

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June 5, 2013

Webinar: Coir Chunk Media – A Good Choice For Long-Term Crops

Growing media manufacturers are looking for new components that can be added to their growing media to improve physical properties and address common problems that the grower and/or end user face. One such problem the homeowner experiences with peat-based growing medium in hanging baskets and long term-planters is that they are hard to re-wet with water after they have dried out. Join Horticulture Specialist Troy Buechel on Tuesday, June 11 at 2 p.m. Eastern, 11 a.m. Pacific for this informative webinar to learn how Premier Tech Horticulture is addressing this issue with a new growing medium called PRO-MIX HP-CC. This product contains a unique coir chunk that does not require a wetting agent to wet and helps to hold water while maintaining good air porosity. Find out how this unique product and ingredients can help reduce long-term wetting challenges for you and your customers. Also did you know that a chunk […]

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April 23, 2013

Premier’s PRO-MIX Marketing Equates Healthy Soil with Healthy Plants

Professional growers and experienced gardeners have known it for ages: the secret to healthy plants and ultimately, great gardens, begins with excellent soil. Now, that knowledge is being adopted more widely by the average home gardener. To further that knowledge, Premier Tech Horticulture is promoting the idea of creating a $10 hole for a $1 plant using the eight growing mixes in the PRO-MIX line, formulated for a variety of gardening needs. “We’ve developed a variety of soil solutions from organic growing mixes and potting mixes to specialized planting mixes,” says Chantal Duchesneau, marketing and communications director for Premier Tech Horticulture. “Most of the mixes include an all-natural ingredient, MycoActive, a form of mycorrhizae that stimulates a plant’s root system to take up more nutrients and water to improve health and growth.” Two of the PRO-MIX products are: PRO-MIX Ultimate Garden Mix, which is suitable for outdoor plants and vegetables, […]

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April 3, 2013

Using Parboiled Rice Hulls In Substrates to Finish Greenhouse Crops

Have you considered replacing perlite with whole parboiled rice hulls (PBH) or peat with ground PBH in your growing substrate for finishing spring bedding plants, but are not convinced they are an effective substrate component? Alternative substrates are a hot topic, as many growers are looking for more sustainable growing mixes, lower production costs and superior performance. However, alternative substrate components do not have the history and popularity that peat moss or perlite may enjoy. In the April issue of Greenhouse Grower, we shared the results of our work propagating New Guinea impatiens cuttings in substrates containing whole or ground PBH as replacements for perlite or peat moss, respectively. In this second article of the two-part series, we will share our most recent research examining how whole and ground PBH work for finishing seed-propagated bedding plants in the northern U.S.   How The Study Was Conducted At Purdue University (40 […]

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February 27, 2013

Using Parboiled Rice Hulls in Propagation Substrates

It is fairly common for substrates used in cutting propagation to be comprised of sphagnum peat moss and perlite or other materials. While there is no doubting the usefulness and effectiveness of peat and perlite as substrate components, some growers are looking for alternatives. Propagation substrates do have particular requirements compared to mixes used for finishing crops. In particular, they are formulated to have greater air space and drainage due to the frequent mist applications used in the first few weeks of propagation. Additionally, the small individual cell volume in propagation trays can result in a perched water table, where root initiation and development can be hampered by lack of oxygen in the space that is constantly filled with water, necessitating good drainage. Rice Hulls As An Alternative Fresh parboiled rice hulls are an agricultural byproduct of rice production. Although research has shown that replacing perlite, or in some instances […]

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February 25, 2013

Jiffy Products Of America To Open New Manufacturing Facility In Norton, Mass.

Jiffy Internationals Executive Vice President Dagfinn Andersen and Director of Sales for the Americas Rick Friedrich, announced the planned opening of Jiffy’s newest substrate manufacturing location in Norton, Mass., for summer 2013. “European growers have been fortunate over the years to have access to a broad range of soil mix options using various sources of peat,” Friedrich says. “One of our goals when Jiffy entered the U.S. substrate market in 2011 was to bring that European flavor and performance to North America. The Jiffy mixes have been well received and with the Norton facility this puts us close to some key markets and customers. It’s exciting!” Andersen says, “The Norton facility follows to an extent our strategy in the Netherlands. In Moerdijk, the Netherlands, Jiffy receives different kinds of peat from around the world, which is processed and combined with additional ingredients like Jiffy’s own RHP certified coir to make […]

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November 16, 2012

10 Must-Know Growing Media Facts

There are some common questions or issues growers have concerning their soil. Two experts from Premier Tech Horticulture explain the top ten things you need to know. 1. Use growing media shortly after blending or delivery. Growing media does not go bad, but changes do occur with aged product. Changes include draw-down of certain nutrients (if the blend has a starter nutrient charge), activation of limestone and decreased effectiveness of the wetting agent. For example, wetting agents can be consumed by native microorganisms found in the growing media components and can chemically degrade. Microbes in the growing media can potentially consume the fertilizer charge, especially nitrogen and iron. This may explain why crops planted in aged growing media get off to a slower start. These processes occur more rapidly with hot storage temperatures than with cold. Product aging begins the day the growing media is manufactured. Most manufacturers print a […]

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November 13, 2012

WholeTree Provides A Sustainable Substrate

Growers hate surprises, especially when it comes to costs. So when the price of fuel or other supplies start to increase, most growers look for ways to hold down costs without sacrificing product quality. This is especially important at Young’s Plant Farm in Auburn, Ala., where the company motto is, “Grow the best plants, always.” A Media Component Alternative Researchers at Auburn University have been looking at alternative components in nursery growing media for several years. In 2004, USDA scientist Glenn Fain and then-Auburn Department of Horticulture chair Charles Gilliam discussed the concerns nursery growers voiced regarding pine bark supplies. It was during this meeting that Gilliam mentioned the idea of harvesting and grinding young, whole pine trees to make a substrate, a process referred to as WholeTree. Fain began research on the WholeTree substrate along with other alternative media components in 2004. The research was done in collaboration with […]

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November 2, 2012

Peat Moss Management And Sustainability In 2013

GG: What is the state of the peat moss industry right now? Short: I would characterize it as stable. There have been some acquisitions — most notably SunGro’s acquisition of Fafard soilless potting mixes — so there has been a bit of consolidation. I think realistically the industry is a reflection of the health of the horticulture industry over all. I say that in the sense that the same forces that are at play with the economies in Canada and the U.S. also have an effect on the purchasing decisions of consumers. GG: Has the debate about whether peat moss is sustainable continued? Short: The market continues to be interested in the responsible management of the peat lands, not only in Canada but throughout the U.S. and worldwide to some extent. Our industry is engaged with federal-provincial and, where appropriate, state industries to promote and strengthen the management of these […]

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