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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August 20, 2012

OASIS Grower Solutions Raises the Propagation Bar Again with New Corporate Website

With a fresh look inspired by new branding initiatives, the folks at Oasis Grower Solutions (OGS) have created a friendly, yet informative site that delivers robust product information in a simple-to-navigate format. Drop-down menus allow visitors to quickly select from propagation media, hydration products, greenhouse cleaners and postharvest items. Once a page is selected, growers can even zoom in and out on product images to get a closer look at, for example, the industry-standard Oasis Wedge and Wedge Plus products. And the site’s comprehensive Info Center offers up answers to frequently asked propagation questions, while providing a library chock full of product spec sheets, research updates and product label information.  “We understand the pressure of being the leader in propagation media”, affirms Oasis Grower Solutions Product Manager, Nathan Keil. “For one, we need to continually update and introduce new products – which we have, especially this year. But we also […]

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July 12, 2012

International Horticultural Technologies Introduces Gro-Tiles

First released in early 2011, the newly improved Gro-Tiles from International Horticultural Technologies help everyone from the do-it-yourself gardening enthusiast to commercial growers and professional landscape architects create green roofs, living walls and vertical gardening displays. Rooted in a stabilized soil-less growing media, Gro-Tiles are no-mess, easy-to-use-and-maintain and water-retaining. Gro-Tiles can be used anywhere from low-moisture, drought-tolerant succulent mixes to lush shade gardens. The tiles also work to help indoor house plants thrive. The strategic layering of materials is designed to ensure long-term durability and qualifies for LEED credits in commercial applications. International Horticulture Technologies has also teamed up with Plantasy, a fresh, blossoming design company. This partnership helps customers create a unique plant presentation that is sure to impress.

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May 9, 2012

Greenhouse Workers Teach Researchers How To Grow Plants

Growers know that nutrient-rich potting mixes and adequate lighting are important when growing healthy plants. At the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES), scientists and greenhouse workers are teaching researchers these basic principles. According to an article provided by Cornell University, Andy Leed, greenhouse manager at Cornell University, demonstrated the difference potting mix can make at a March open house for researchers across campus. Leed showcased flats of arabidopsis, a choice plant for researchers concerned with genetics and molecular biology.  Four flats boasted a vigorous carpet of healthy plants, but another three flats looked sickly. “I saw a lot of raised eyebrows,” Leed says in the article. While many researchers might assume the differences came from pest exposure or germination issues, potting soil was to blame. According to Leeds, researchers “need to know if the potting medium they use is compatible with their crop and irrigation protocol.” According to the […]

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March 15, 2012

Orchid Grower: Sphagnum, Bark Both Have Place As Medium

Dear Greenhouse Grower, As a fellow commercial orchid grower, I enjoyed the video on your website comparing bark and sphagnum moss as phalaenopsis orchid substrates. While I found Rocket Farms’ and Marc Clark’s take to be very interesting, I would like to add our perspective. Westerlay Orchids grows more than 1 million plants annually in specially formulated orchid bark and a couple hundred thousand in sphagnum moss. We believe great plants can be produced in both. Great plants have vigor and remain vibrant in customers’ homes. We believe the key to this performance is active roots. We find that our larger phalaenopsis (5-inch) grow better in our greenhouse and perform better in the home when they are in bark because they grow more and better roots. We find plants in larger moss pots do not build up the same active root mass. For our smaller plants (3-inch), moss works well […]

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February 22, 2012

Growing Media Supplier Loses $39 Million Lawsuit Over Fertilizer

Two Canadian farmers won a multimillion dollar lawsuit last week against British Columbia-based Sun Gro Horticulture and Woodburn Fertilizer Company, claiming Sun Gro’s Multicote 15-9-12+ Minors controlled-release fertilizer cost them millions of dollars in lost crops and customers. Sun Gro is the designer of Multicote and Woodburn Fertilizer is the company that manufactured it. According to OregonLive.com, Jag Aujila, who owns JRT Nurseries in British Columbia and Washington state, was awarded nearly $12 million in direct economic losses for the death of his plants, $22.5 million for the loss of customers and nearly $5 million in interest. Aujila’s attorney convinced a jury Multicote killed 4.1 million of JRT’s blueberry plants and hundreds of thousands of other plants based on side-by-side comparisons between crops with Multicote and crops without it. “It was kind of like a giant sixth-grade science experiment: Wherever the other fertilizers were used, the plants thrived,” says Larry […]

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