April 5, 2010

Hamilton Engineering Welcomes Service Tech

Hamilton Engineering recently promoted Matthew Little to service technician. For the past two years, Little has handled the shipping and receiving department at Hamilton, where he also assisted in product programming and warranty goods processing. He was moved to the service department in December. Visit HamiltonEngineering.com for more on the company.

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March 31, 2010

When To Water

University of Georgia’s Marc van Iersel is focused on knowing when to water. For the last seven years he has been working with soil moisture sensors to improve irrigation and reduce leaching and runoff water– seeking total water-use efficiency. Simultaneously, colleagues at the University of Maryland and Carnegie Mellon University were developing equipment that could take soil moisture measurements and transmit them to a central computer. In addition, the University of Colorado team had been focused on technology that demanded real-time modeling of water use based on environmental conditions in the nursery. “We had basically several projects that have been going off independently for the last seven years, and now we’re combining all of our efforts to develop a system that will be commercially available,” van Iersel says. So what’s the key ingredient keeping these somewhat separate agendas together? A $5.16 million, five-year USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative Sensor Networks […]

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March 17, 2010

TrueLeaf Adds Salesperson

Garth Carr, who has been involved in the commercial horticulture industry for more than 20 years, recently joined TrueLeaf Technologies‘ sales team. Carr previously worked for Greenheart Farms, Wheatfield Gardens, Stacy’s Nursery and others. Most recently, he spent five years as national sales manager of ParSource Lighting Solutions in Petaluma, Calif. “We are very excited to have Garth join us,” TrueLeaf’s Morris Brink says. “He brings a perspective that can only be achieved through years of commitment and involvement in our industry. He is a veteran of both sides of high-end horticulture, and we are confident he will deliver extreme value to TrueLeaf’s customers.”

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March 8, 2010

Virtual Grower Now Available En Espaňol

The USDA-ARS Virtual Grower program is now available in Spanish as Virtual Grower 2.5 en Español. It can be downloaded for free at VirtualGrower.net. The software program is a decision support tool for greenhouse growers and those interested in building a greenhouse. Users can build a virtual greenhouse in the comfort of their home or office with a variety of glazing materials, heating setups, fuel types, supplemental lighting and energy curtains. The program enables the user to schedule temperature set points throughout the year and predict heating costs for more than 230 sites within the United States. Different heating and scheduling scenarios can be predicted with a few inputs. The program can estimate fuel costs and plant growth for a production season or crop. Virtual Grower is continually being updated with information generated by the USDA-ARS and universities across the U.S. The Spanish version can be installed alongside the existing […]

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February 23, 2010

Online Only: Costin Talks Carts

Greenhouse Grower caught up with Container Centralen (CC) President Sonny Costin, who shares his vision for a rented transported cart system in the United States, his take on the effectiveness of RFID in tracking carts and more. Are there a lot of carts purchases being made by growers right now? Cart usage and growth is very strong. Retailers strongly prefer delivery on carts over floor-loaded trailers. In addition, retailers want live plants delivered using sustainable packaging. Container Centralen’s cart system offers a nationwide sustainable packing system for the horticultural industry and this has reinforced growth in usage of CC carts. In addition, larger growers are buying in more and more product and want their inbound purchases to flow seamlessly into their businesses – this is another major source of growth for horticultural carts. Lost carts: How big a problem are they for U.S. growers? Anybody who uses carts has an […]

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February 19, 2010

Minimizing Cart Loss

A driver recovering Container Centralen racks finds a person at the rear of a retail store loading Container Centralen equipment into a truck. That’s odd, the driver thinks, so he questions the person about the loading job. The driver quickly realizes this person is stealing carts and planning to deliver them to a scrap metal yard. Container Centralen files a police report with the information the driver provides, and the driver now qualifies for a $500 reward as an incentive of Container Centralen’s new Equipment Protection Program. Container Centralen wins because it maintains its equipment; the driver wins because he’s eligible for a fistful of cash; growers win because they’ll have a load of carts to use for their next shipments; and retailers win because they’ve helped their vendors keep costs down and prevented an act of theft on their property. “Cart and rack theft varies by region,” says Sonny […]

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February 17, 2010

An Affordable Light Intensity Meter

The LightScout DLI 100 Meter is an affordable first step in measuring the light intensity levels affecting your crops. It’s sold in sets of three to compare light level intensities within or outside the greenhouse.  With a push of a button, the DLI 100 meter records light intensity for a 24-hour period and calculates the daily light integral (DLI). Real-time intensity levels are shown every 4 seconds in µmol m-2 s-1 (or footcandles). To receive a free catalog complete with hundreds of light, climate, soil and plant health monitoring devices, contact Spectrum Technologies at: 12360 S. Industrial Dr. East Plainfield, IL 60585 You can also visit Spectrum Technologies online at SpecMeters.com.      

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February 4, 2010

Neptune Pump Now Complies With Standards

Neptune Chemical Pump Company’s Polymaster polymer makedown systems now comply with UL778 and CSA C22.2 No. 108-01 standards. The Polymaster system dilutes, mixes and thoroughly activates emulsion, dispersion and solution polymers. Polymasters are available in a range of models to produce from 20 to 1200 gph (75 to 4500 lpm) of activated solution at concentrations from 0.1 percent to 2.0 percent. The motorized Gatlin distribution head allows the Polymaster to achieve a high degree of activation at all flow rates. The Gatlin distribution head hydraulically segments polymers into ultra-thin film platelets to maximize the polymer surface area exposed to dilution water, providing maximum activation. The Gatlin distribution head also ensures the degree of polymer activation is not affected by fluctuating water pressures or dilution water-ratio changes. Automatic units adjust polymer pump-flow rate by pacing the speed of the polymer pump to an external 4-20mA signal. Loss of dilution water causes […]

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January 21, 2010

If At First You Don’t Succeed …

All Sam Martin wanted was to lessen his fuel costs, and he’s finally on the right path for his operation now that he’s burning coal to heat his greenhouses. But Martin’s journey to the right fuel source had its twists and turns. Lessons were learned, Martin got an extensive education in a variety of energy sources and others can use his experience as a reminder of what to do when exploring non-fossil fuels–and what not to do. Martin’s journey is unique because he has employed three different alternative energy systems–wood, corn and coal–in response to a recent rise in propane prices. Martin is heating four greenhouses that span about 20,000 square feet, and he’s using those greenhouses to grow vegetables for his business, Earth n’ Eats, in Chambersburg, Pa. The first alternative source Martin gave a try was wood. He has a friend who owns a sawmill, so slab wood […]

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January 21, 2010

Going The Distance For Quality

Dan & Jerry’s Greenhouses, an operation in Monticello, Minn., uses about 10 DosaCart fertilizer injectors from Dosatron within its greenhouse walls for production purposes. But Dan & Jerry’s actually owns about 220 Dosacarts. So what does it do with the others? It distributes the majority of them to its retail customers to keep up with fertilizing once product is out of Dan & Jerry’s hands. “We wanted our customers to feed the product at the garden center level,” says Jerry Quaal, co-owner and CFO of Dan & Jerry’s. “We saw what was happening at the chain store level. So we distributed the DosaCarts and said we want the trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials you’re getting from us fed once a week.” Dan & Jerry’s distributes its DosaCarts to retailers around the middle of April, and its customers use the fertilizer injectors through the end of June. “We’re doing this with […]

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January 19, 2010

Double Harvest Provides Lifeline In Haiti

While ports have been jammed as international aid flows into Haiti, the Double Harvest Christian mission the Van Wingerden family founded in 1981 that is only eight miles from Port-au-Prince has immediately begun providing food, water, shelter and medical care for thousands devastated by last week’s earthquake. On Sunday, Abe Van Wingerden of Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, N.C., provided this update on the relief efforts: - The Double Harvest team fed more than 3,000 people during the day Saturday in a kitchen/cafeteria that is set up to feed only 300. The tilapia farm has been a miracle as they await additional supplies. One fish can feed three people and they have more than 40,000 fish in the tilapia farm ready to eat, which was just built and finished in the last few months. – The Double Harvest team also gave out rice, eggs and fish to the five surrounding villages as hunger […]

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