April 24, 2012

Hand Watering, Booms, Sprinklers Or Drip?

The amount of water that can be held by the substrate in a given container with a specific irrigation method is the effective water-holding capacity (EWHC). It may be desirable to maintain the moisture content of the medium below EWHC in order to regulate plant growth or reduce the risk of soil-borne diseases. Overall, it is important to irrigate thoroughly. The amount of water applied must be sufficient to re-wet the entire volume of growing medium. If the medium is dry and not enough water is applied, only part of the mix will be re-wetted. In irrigating thoroughly, the method of delivery plays an important role. With top-down irrigation, water will be pulled downward by the force of gravity. As it moves downward, some will be held by the growing medium. Usually, some water will escape from the bottom of the pot before the medium is thoroughly wet. At the […]

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September 16, 2011

Scouting For Pathogens And Pests: The Basics Of Monitoring

Pathogens, insects and other pests can seriously impact greenhouse production and reduce profitability. In this fourth article in the Basics of Monitoring series, we provide concepts and tactics to help you develop a comprehensive greenhouse pest and pathogen scouting program. Scouting is a vital part of any integrated pest management (IPM) program and involves systematically moving through the greenhouse looking for pathogens and pests. It estimates their abundance, and then uses this information to make management decisions. This information helps growers determine if, when and where treatment is needed, what options are available and whether or not they are economically viable. Setting The Stage For Good IPM Immediately begin scouting new plants (plugs or liners) and cuttings as soon as they arrive. Incoming rooted or bare root plant material should always be quarantined in order to prevent the introduction of pests from other facilities. Remember, when you bring in a […]

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September 16, 2011

The Basics Of Monitoring: The Complete Series

Monitoring The Greenhouse Environment Developing a comprehensive monitoring program is key to keeping your production on track, but only a handful of growers are as watchful as they should be. Now, you can borrow concepts presented in this series to produce quality plants on time for every season. Graphical Tracking: The Basics Of Monitoring Develop a comprehensive monitoring program by borrowing concepts presented in this series to produce quality plants on time for every season. Media pH, EC & Water Quality: The Basics Of Monitoring Developing a comprehensive monitoring program is key to keeping your production on track, but only a handful of growers are as watchful as they should be. Borrow these concepts to produce quality plants on time for every season. Scouting For Pathogens And Pests: The Basics Of Monitoring Borrow greenhouse monitoring concepts from this series to produce quality plants on time for every season.

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August 10, 2011

Media pH, EC & Water Quality: The Basics Of Monitoring

The cover of an environmental monitoring company catalog contains a quote: “To measure is to know.” Monitoring is an attempt to quantify the invisible, to know before you see. We have become accustomed to this practice in human health and wellness and have our temperature and blood pressure taken. We understand the importance of the resulting values and what they mean, based on a scale resulting from scientific data. Monitoring, as a tool in greenhouse production, has the same end. It can be an instructive learning tool, focusing attention on details that can otherwise go easily ignored until there is a “wellness” issue that commands your full attention and your wallet. Of benefit to greenhouse production over field production is greater environmental and cultural control of temperature, light, substrate, water and fertilizer. Published recommendations for these inputs are available for many of the crops commonly grown, and monitoring is the […]

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July 25, 2011

Graphical Tracking: The Basics Of Monitoring

Figure 2. Long, thin and weak poinsettia stems due to tight spacing (shade avoidance response) on the greenhouse bench. Scroll down to see the rest of the figures for this story. Controlling height is a major challenge for growers with most floriculture crops. Unfortunately, not only do environmental growing conditions vary from year to year due to the weather, but growers must continuously adjust their height management strategies due to the introduction of new cultivars, shipping dates and container sizes. We are all aware of the consequences of crops that do not meet or exceed maximum height requirements: poor quality and damaged plants, higher shipping and labor costs and, ultimately, shrink. So how do you make decisions related to height control in your greenhouse? Relying on your plant growth regulator (PGR) crop notes from last year may not be the best strategy to follow. The first step in making educated […]

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June 14, 2011

Monitoring The Greenhouse Environment

How do you make decisions related to crop production in your greenhouse? The most common decision-making aids are notes made during previous production seasons and reacting to problems that arise. While using notes and reacting to situations as they arise are commonplace, each season and year is going to be different than the previous one. The first step toward making educated decisions and avoiding problems is to monitor factors that affect your crop production. Constant monitoring can help growers make decisions and help manage the causes of problems as opposed to treating symptoms. This is the first article in a series focused on monitoring the greenhouse environment, plant growth and development, substrate pH and EC and water quality, and greenhouse pests and diseases. These articles will provide concepts and ideas to help you develop a comprehensive greenhouse monitoring program. This particular article will focus on monitoring the greenhouse environment. Because […]

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