August 30, 2010

Fafard’s New Formulations

Since 2008, when the Fafard Research Leader Program launched, interns have been conducting research to help design new growing media formulations at large, commercial greenhouse operations across the United States. Essentially, research projects have examined how different raw materials, soil amendments and additives used in media perform in different greenhouse settings. Fafard, then, has used much of that research to design a pair of growing media options that are now available to growers: Fafard’s Young Plant Mix, a combination of peat, perlite and vermiculite that’s packaged in compressed bales; and mixes that directly incorporate Scotts’ new Osmocote Start controlled-release fertilizer. “We’ve been doing the research and development within the Fafard Research Leader Program the last two years, and it’s been very successful,” says Bruce Adams, Fafard marketing manager for grower products. “With the support of Syngenta, we’ve been able to launch two new products for this past season. Typically, you’d […]

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July 13, 2010

Aero NT

Omni Growing Solutions is offering a new plug product for young plant production, Aero NT. The plug is designed to hold its shape without the use of a wrapper. The product line has been in development in Germany for the last 10-12 years. Plugs are produced in a batch-mix system using a typical growing mix, but a binding agent is added to help the plugs hold together easily. Plugs are pre-dibbled and according to general manager Bill Maartense, plants have shown 20-25 percent shorter rooting time in tests. Omni Growing Solutions, an independent offshoot of Dummen will be opening a production facility in Ontario in November. The plan is to serve primarily Dummen rooting stations next year, and to open things up to the larger grower audience the following year.

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April 16, 2010

Fafard Gains Right To Add Osmocote Start To Mixes

Fafard is part of Spring Trials at Syngenta Flowers in Gilroy again this year, and the company’s latest development is that it now has the rights to incorporate Scotts’ Osmocote Start into its growing mixes. Osmocote Start is a controlled-release fertilizer, and growers interested in Fafard’s Osmocote Start mixes can approach either Fafard or Scotts for technical support. “The great benefit of this product is it reduces the amount of water-soluble fertilizer growers will need–in some cases eliminating it entirely,” says Hugh Poole, director of technical research for Fafard. “It’s another way of getting a fast crop in. it’s going to reduce leaching, groundwater contamination and it’s actually going to reduce the total fertilizer requirements for the grower.” Less algae growth in the greenhouse is another benefit, Poole says, because water-soluble fertilizer won’t be making its way onto greenhouse floors. Osmocote Start is a fully coated N-P-K plus micronutrients controlled-release fertilizer. Its […]

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March 22, 2010

Stone Wool As A Substrate

HortiPro and Saint-Gobain Cultilène, a Netherlands-based substrate company, recently joined forces, making Cultilène’s stone wool substrates more easily available to U.S. growers. Martin Boerema, who’s a senior consultant with HortiPro, is in charge of technical support for Cultilène here in the United States. Propagators, cut flower growers and high-tech vegetable producers are among the growers stone wool substrates make sense, Boerema says. Stone wool products are also among HortiPro’s product offerings, which include cocopeat, bark and other growing media. You can learn more about the two companies at and

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March 16, 2010

2 Jiffy Products Now OMRI Listed

The Jiffy Growbag and Jiffy Growblock were recently certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute, making them available to organic growers. The Growbag and Growblock system form a 100-percent coir-based hydroponic growing alternative to growers looking for a high-quality sustainable option to grow vegetables hydroponically. The Jiffy pot is already OMRI listed. For more on Jiffy visit

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January 6, 2010

Sun Gro, Hullgro Sign Distributor Agreement

Sun Gro Horticulture has signed an exclusive distributorship with Hullgro Industries to distribute Hullgro rice hulls throughout North America. Hullgro rice hulls are weed free, sustainable and ideally suited for horticultural use. Sun Gro’s grower technical experts are available to educate growers on the differences between growing in traditional mix verses a Hullgro rice hulls based mix. For more information on Sun Gro, visit

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November 30, 2009

Alternatives To Peat

The American Floral Endowment recognizes that alternatives to peat must be developed to meet environmental concerns pertaining to mining of peat bogs. AFE shares research it funded and Virginia Tech University conducted. Robert Wright and Brian Jackson, both of Virginia Tech’s Department of Horticulture, wrote this report. Background It is recognized that alternatives to peat must be developed to meet environmental concerns pertaining to mining of peat bogs. Also, peat supplies can be limited by wet weather conditions that restrict harvest during certain times of the year. These concerns, coupled with increasing fuel costs, have led to increased costs of peat substrates. Therefore, there is an increased interest in less expensive and readily available substitutes. Our research has shown that a pine tree substrate (PTS) manufactured by grinding loblolly pine trees with a hammer mill makes an excellent greenhouse container substrate. The trees can be ground to the correct particle […]

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October 29, 2009

Berger Has New Sales Director

Valerie Berger has been promoted to corporate sales director at Berger Peat Moss. Valerie, daughter of President Claudin Berger, previously served the company for two years as corporate director of special projects. In her new role, Valerie is responsible for all sales at Berger. She has an MBA in international management. For more information on Berger, visit its website at

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October 28, 2009

Ellepot Papers Now VeriFlora Approved

Two types of papers Ellepot USA uses–the Ellepot EP and VP papers–are now certified as VeriFlora Approved Input Materials. According to VeriFlora, some of the sustainable attributes related to the use of Ellepot EP and VP papers include: –Degradable papers produce less waste and environmental impact than alternatives such as plastic pots.–EP and VP papers are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified from well-managed forests.–Ellepot paper is, in many cases, sustainable cheaper than plastic pots. –One roll of paper is equivalent to about 17,000 4-inch pots. One pallet of paper holds 32 times that, or 540,000 pots, taking up much less space (and weight) on a pallet, allowing greater efficiency in transportation.–The Ellepot reduces the amount of planting media needed and avoids root shock when transplanting by keeping the soil secured around the root system. “Ellepot USA is proud to have two of our paper types approved as VeriFlora input materials,” […]

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October 21, 2009

Sun Gro Adds One To Sales Team

Jason Padden, greenhouse chapter president of the Oregon Association of Nurseries, has joined Sun Gro’s products sales team last month. Padden will serve Sun Gro as sales representative in the Pacific Northwest. Padden previously worked at Terra Nova nurseries, where he focused on sales, marketing and logistics. He has a bachelor’s degree in plant sciences from the State University of New York. For more information on Sun Gro, visit

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September 1, 2009

No Soil, No Problem

Plastic pop bottles, for many of us, are another way of referring to polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This thermoplastic polymer is most commonly used to create the containers we use for foods and beverages. It’s also one of the most commonly recycled materials in the world. But did you know that PET is now making a push into the arena of growing media? You read correctly, growing media. So the next time you polish off a bottle of your favorite soda over lunch, make sure to toss it into the correct recycling bin. After all, it may revisit you down the road during your next production run. Fighter Jets To Begonias It takes a special person to make the connection between the aerospace industry and the horticulture industry. In this particular case, that special person is Joe Byles, president of Freedom Garden Products.  Byles first began working with PET in the […]

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