October 7, 2009

NGMA Hosting Conference In Hawaii

Growers interested in attending the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association’s (NGMA) 2010 spring conference will soon be able to register. The upcoming conference will take place Aprill 18-20 at the Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku (Oahu) Hawii. Events include the annual golf outing and volleyball tournament along with committee meetings, educational sessions and product information exchange. This conference is a great opportuinity for educational enrichment through their speakers and one-on-one business sessions. To make reservations, call the Turtle Bay Resort at 800-203-3650. Make sure you mention NGMA for the discounted rate. For conference registration visit www.ngma.com and for more information on the Turtle Bay Resort, check out www.turtlebayresort.com.   

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July 23, 2009

Hail Storm Shreds Greenhouse Roofs

Stevens and Son Wholesale Florist is in clean-up mode this week after a Monday night hailstorm destroyed greenhouse roof coverings at its two facilities in Arvada, Colo. All coverings were made of Dynaglass, and not a single panel of it is salvageable. “It’s just a mess,” Bruce Daniel, company president, said Thursday. “We’re trying to complete one small project at a time and move forward. We’re scrambling to find materials and put a plan together. It’s a nightmare.” Daniel estimates damage well into six figures, but the operation is still in business. Twenty to 30 percent of plants were lost, and the operation expects the roof replacement process to take about six weeks. Stevens and Son will use Dynaglass coverings as the replacement material. For more on the story, click here. You can also visit the Stevens and Son website and view a slideshow of the damage sustained here.

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July 7, 2009

Meet The 2-Inch Square Structure

The 2-Inch Square Structure from Atlas Manufacturing is the company’s latest product offering, as houses start at $1.48 per square foot. Side curtains allow for up to 35 percent open-air ventilation, and houses span 30 or 35 feet. Other features of the 2-Inch Square Structure include: - 2-inch square frame construction–Higher curtain height for natural ventilation–Strong framework–Excellent for high tunnel use–Pre-punched holes for easy installation For more information on the 2-Inch Square Structure or other designs from Atlas Manufacturing, click here.

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June 23, 2009

Sheets Increase Rose Grower’s Competitiveness

Few large-scale rose growers in the United States operate outside California, making Len Busch Roses in Plymouth, Minn., an exception. “Our strengths are quality and freshness,” says Patrick Busch, managing director of the operation. “The rose grower from the far North is asserting himself with success against the competition.” Busch attributes much of Len Busch Roses’ success to one particular product, Acyrlite Deglas high-impact acrylic double-skinned sheets. Sheets now cover about 500,000 square feet at Len Busch Roses, and they offer the operation tremendous energy savings. Double-skinned sheets consist of two skins connected top and bottom by a number of ribs. The resulting air cavities of sheets act as an insulating layer, because the static air in the cavities is a poor heat conductor as compared with solid material. The co-efficient heat transfer index, or U-value, states how effective this insulation is. The lower the U-value, the better the heat […]

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June 18, 2009

Natural Ventilation

Businesses face a never-ending fight to control costs. For today’s growers, that means finding ways to minimize capital greenhouse expenses, energy costs and lost product. The Zephyr and Zail technology addresses each of those concerns, providing growers with both cost control and flexibility in running their operations. These naturally ventilated greenhouses help optimize growing conditions by giving growers a superior, affordable cooling solution. Grower experience in these houses indicates the ability to hold outside ambient temperature in the greenhouse without use of mechanical cooling. The strength of the Nexus-pioneered, welded-truss design gives growers the flexibility to hang baskets, vegetable crops and equipment, increasing the amount of crop that can be grown in the same space. Nexus Zephyr and Zail Specifications - One-piece factory-welded truss design - High-strength Tenzaloy column caps and gutter saddles - Zephyr and Zail standard-size widths of 24, 30, 36 and 42 feet (non-standard widths available) - […]

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June 10, 2009

View: The Perfect Formula For Success

Hey, welcome back … to reality that is. Becoming reacquainted with reality is a wonderful and valuable incidental benefit of a crisis, economic or otherwise. Anyone who has faced the imminent probability of death has a better appreciation of life; just like person who has faced the potential of economic ruin or loss has a better appreciation for the benefits of economic success and conservatism; or the person who has staked a fortune on the promises of “greenness” and learned it is still about quality product, quality service, fair prices and good business management.  Once again, it was confirmed the most important factor in the year-to-year success of our business is how many sunny Saturdays there are in April and May. Once again, the day to day success of our industry has been confirmed to be how well you manage your business. Yes, a penny saved is a penny earned. […]

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May 29, 2009

Acrylic Covering Offers Savings

Acrylite Deglas acrylic sheets from New Jersey-based Evonik Cyro LLC help reduce energy consumption and cost. “We aren’t just paying lip service here, we intend to show that our high-tech material enables users throughout the continent to take cost-effective and environmentally conscious action,” says Stephen Costanzo, general manager of Evonik Cyro’s acrylic sheet business line. Acrylite Deglas double-skinned acrylic sheets reduce energy consumption in greenhouses with their favorable heat insulation, and therefore automatically cut an operator’s carbon dioxide emissions. Growers can make an active contribution to climate protection and reduce their monthly overheads at the same time. “Saving energy means cutting costs and carbon dioxide,” says Michael Ehmann, North American Acrylite Deglas manager. “Greenhouses represent a major long-term investment. By planning with foresight and using Acrylite Deglas sheet products, these potential savings can be secured for decades. That is an ideal combination.” Evonik Cyro is building an energy savings campaign […]

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May 27, 2009

Svensson Cloth Effective On Mums

Obscura W/W, a multilayer structure of white/black/white films with black yarn, creates a highly reflective, porous surface with very low light transmission that shortens days for garden mums. To force garden mums with the seven weeks of short days (13 hours of night) they need, Obscura W/W solves many challenges, including high night temperatures and interrupted darkness. Unlike black plastic film, Obscura W/W doesn’t collect rainwater and crush plants. It won’t absorb heat and humidity, either, and it’s lightweight and easy to handle. “Obscura W/W is the better way to force garden mums,” says Kurt Parbst, president of Svensson’s North and South American subsidiary. “Getting mums to market faster certainly increases growers’ chances of earning higher prices.” Obscura W/W allows less than 0.5 percent light transmission and is made with a porous yarn structure built to release rainwater and excess humidity. Its superior reflective surface greatly reduces heat buildup and […]

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May 26, 2009

Online Only: Warschauer’s Conversion Tips

Jeff Warschauer, vice president of sales for Nexus Corp., lists factors growers should consider before converting production space to retail. 1. Availability. Analyze the space you have to use for retail and when you can have access to that space, particularly if you are going from winter growing space to retail space in April. 2. Parking. How many cars you can park is an important factor in the retail design. There’s no use investing in 30,000 square feet of retail upgrades and new benches when parking is far away and only 20 cars can be parked. Design ratios are very important. 3. Retail product. What will you be retailing? The answer may help you decide which benches and displays you’ll need and the best location. 4. Benching. Enclosed greenhouse space, canopy and covered walk space may all use different bench layouts. 5. Shade. You’ll need shade area if you plan […]

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May 26, 2009

Online Only: Web Savvy Resources

Growers looking to build new structures now have a plethora of resources at their fingertips. Some of the leading structures companies have revamped their websites with tools to make structure shopping a breeze. Rough Brothers, for example, recently enhanced its website with an “Ask Our Experts” forum. Here, customers have the opportunity to ask any questions they might have about structures and related equipment. Questions can be about anything from design and construction to operation and maintenance. Visitors to the website also have the option of browsing questions that have already been asked and posting responses. In addition, an online parts catalog is included on the website. It features some of the most popular components and equipment, such as cutain systems, cooling and ventilation, glazing and lighting, among others. “We are trying to make our website more of a tool for growers,” says Bill Vietas, commercial division manager for Rough […]

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May 26, 2009

Reconfiguring Facilities For Retail

If you’ve heard marketing consultant Judy Sharpton speak, you know she’s a proponent of Paco Underhill’s book, “Why We Buy,” and a stickler against the butt brush, an Underhill theory in which customers “brush butts” as they pass because aisles and spaces are too narrow to navigate otherwise. Sound like a problem you’ve encountered at a garden center, perhaps even a dilemma you face at your own if you’re a grower-retailer? Now is the time to recognize the problem and consider alternatives to fix it. Let’s start with an analysis of bench layouts and basic ways you can convert commercial greenhouses into customer-friendly areas for retail. Sacrificing Space Conversion Tips Jeff Warschauer, vice president of sales at Nexus Corporation, shared his thoughts on converting growing space to retail space and offered a few general considerations for those planning upcoming conversions: –Timing. Analyze the space you have to use for retail and […]

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May 13, 2009

Online Only: Have A Plan Before You Expand

With interest rates so low, could now be a good time for growers to reinvest in their businesses or even expand, if market growth supports it and they have strong banking relationships? We asked Charlie Hall, an economist who holds the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, for his take on the situation. Is there opportunity in a down economy? He says expansion can be feasible if it’s done for strategic purposes. “In a recent webinar and my presentation at ANLA’s Management Clinic about surviving the economic downturn, I said the number one action point is conserving cash,” Hall says. “Expansion is not conserving cash. It’s not the time to get bigger for bigger’s sake, but if you have a clear strategy in mind and a firm idea the market can support, expansion can be feasible.” Before moving into a new trade area, growers need to ask […]

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