July 27, 2010
Embracing Energy Efficiency
For many years, greenhouse owners have stared at their gas-fired unit heaters and watched dollar after dollar escape their vents due to inefficiency. Thanks to the Effinity93 from Modine, owners can now embrace a more energy- and cost-efficient greenhouse solution. The Effinity93 is an efficient gas-fired, condensing unit heater that comes in six models–from 135,000 BTU/hr to 310,000 BTU/hr–all operating at 93 percent efficiency. The 93 percent efficiency rating is a dramatic step forward compared to traditional 78 percent seasonally efficient power-vented unit heaters–and even more so versus 65 percent seasonally efficient gravity-vented unit heaters. So how does that translate into savings for a greenhouse? While savings vary depending on location, in many cases across North America just one Effinity93 heater can save more than $1,000 a year in energy costs. And when you take into consideration the actual number of units required to heat a greenhouse, it isn’t difficult […]
July 19, 2010
BFG Names Broderick Sales Manager
BFG Supply has named Jim Broderick sales manager of the BFG Plant Connection. Broderick will oversee the sales, marketing and operations of the BFG Plant Connection plant brokering service within BFG Supply. Broderick, the former treasurer and interim CEO of OFA, spent most of the last 30 years working in greenhouse and garden center businesses in Ohio. He and his wife also own TFI Inc., a Westerville, Ohio-based company that provides interiorscaping, landscaping, wholesaling and limited grounds and property maintenance. “This move comes about because of the continuing success we’re experiencing in this part of our business,” says Steve Grabski, BFG Supply’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “The BFG Plant Connection continues to grow at a rate of 20 to 25 percent every year, so bringing Jim and his broad understanding of the floriculture marketplace into this new role will allow us to manage this growth in a […]
July 14, 2010
Light Scout DLI 100 Light Meter
Sold in a three-pack, the Light Scout DLI 100 Light Meter from Spectrum Technologies offers the greenhouse grower the ability to measure PAR light and calculate Daily Light Integral through the greenhouse. Place one outside the greenhouse, one on a bench and one in a hanging basket, or three in the corners of the greenhouse. Monitor light levels over a 24-hour period to determine if environmental changes need to be made.
July 12, 2010
The Greenway Plant Shipper
Having fun tracking down those shipping carts? Use the patent pending Green Way Plant Shipper, a coated cardboard product that is water repellant and 100 percent recyclable. These shippers can ship all flats, hanging baskets and pots up to two gallons.
July 11, 2010
Small Greenhouse Improvements For Small Growers
Ralph Ostendorf of Ostendorf Greenhouses in Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of three panelists in an education session I attended Saturday titled “Small Greenhouse Improvements For Small & Medium Growers.” Ostendorf discussed a recent retrofit to a 60-year-old wooden greenhouse, and he offered a few tips for growers like himself: Irrigation. Ostendorf added Netafim drippers for his hanging baskets and drip irrigation for crops like garden mums. The operation used to take all day to hand water, he says, and it would have to water all over again once it finished watering crops like poinsettias by hand. The lesson: Do away with hand watering, Ostendorf says, and look into drip irrigation. Benching. Rolling benches were added to the 60-year-old greenhouse. The greenhouse originally had two fixed aisles, but it removed those benches and added one floating aisle that’s resulted in about 20 percent more production space. Material handling. Ostendorf Greenhouses, of […]
July 10, 2010
Amish Environmental Controls
Amish growers operate without the luxury of electricity, but they could use a signal when their greenhouses are too hot or cold for their liking. R&K Greenhouses, located in Fredericksburg, Ohio, has a unique environmental controls thermometer that’s battery operated and sounds a horn when the temperature is too hot or cold for the grower’s liking. “We monitor greenhouse temperatures with battery-operated cordless indoor/outdoor thermometers and battery-operated alarms,” says Robert Hershberger, R&K Flowers. Additionally, R&K moderates greenhouse temperatures with shutters on air thermostats and rollup sidewalls. R&K’s greenhouse space is just 6,720 square feet, but it also has four fans for cooling that turn because compressed air moves them.
June 29, 2010
Greenhouse Automation: Rise Of The Machines
Automation is hardly a new topic in greenhouse production. Industry suppliers and greenhouse operations themselves have been building new equipment and finding ways to cut production costs for decades. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some interesting things happening out there. Automation For All The capital investment required for many of the transplanters, computer systems and high-end solutions for moving product around traditionally limited automation to the big operations that can afford it. That’s changing. Whether it’s concerns about health care costs or the availability of workers, labor issues have more smaller and medium-sized growers trying to find ways to automate, says Clay Crider, owner of CRS Supply Group. “It’s amazing to see the growers asking about Dutch trays now. In the past they wouldn’t even talk about it because of the upfront costs. Now they say they really have to cut their labor. They almost can’t afford not to […]
May 25, 2010
Argus Controls The new Omni-Sensor for Argus Titan systems combines temperature, humidity, light and optional CO2 measurement in a single compact aspirated module. Suitable for use in a wide range of controlled environments, the Omni-Sensor features advanced electronics, high accuracy digital instrumentation, a convenient on-board display and a keypad for operator-entered field calibration adjustments. Intellisenc & Tongdy Control Technology Intellisenc and Tongdy have developed a range of CO2 controllers, from the most basic CO2 on-off units to full-feature models with complete growing environment monitoring and control. Controllers are available with light sensing and CO2, humidity and temperature control. Among the models offered is the F2000TSM-CO2 (pictured), which has six easy-to-read LEDs indicating CO2 level. It features a self-calibrating 0-2000 ppm range NDIR CO2 sensor, an on-off control output and LED set points preset from the factory. Priva Technologies The Priva NutriFlex, which is specially intended for dosing nutrients into irrigation […]
May 25, 2010
Coverings And Films: A Few New Options
Poly-Tex The new FieldPro high tunnel (pictured) has been designed with the specialty crop grower in mind. Durable roof poly and roll-up sides will provide an environment that extends the growing season, protects crops and increases yields and profits. It is available in three standard widths and two roof styles. Another recent introduction from Poly-Tex is the Expansion Mansion (below), a sturdy and versatile growing structure. It is easily expandable and can be upgraded with a variety of ventilation and mechanical system options. Its traditional arch design can be fitted with double poly film or polycarbonate sheeting. It can be constructed as a freestanding or gutter-connected greenhouse. Co-Ex Corporation Polisnake is a new style of multi-walled sheet that is minimal in weight, offers high-load resistance and excellent light transmission. Due to unique reflection and refraction characteristics of the Polisnake sheeting, light transmission does not decrease but actually intensifies. Each […]
April 27, 2010
McConkey Names New Senior Buyer
McConkey recently appointed Vincent Li as its senior buyer. Li, who is a supply chain professional with 10 years of experience in sourcing, inventory management and operations, will search the world for products to bring to its customers. Li will focus on improving McConkey’s service levels and product portfolio to its customers by streamlining inventory, improving vendor communications and sourcing products that benefit McConkey’s customers. For the past six years, Li has been the manager of international operations for All Natural Botanicals, a Florida-based corporation with manufacturing facilities in China. He has personally been involved with supply-chain issues with CVS, Michaels Arts & Crafts, Dollar Tree and other leading retailers. “McConkey and the grower supply industry are both new for me, which offers a very exciting opportunity to take my skills as a retail buyer to the wholesale side,” Li says. “I have only been on board a short time […]
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.
April 5, 2010
Dramm Introduces BigFoot Cart Upgrade
Dramm introduces the BigFoot Cart Upgrade for its MS and HYDRA cart designs. This new option adds 15-inch pneumatic turf tires and pneumatic casters to both carts. With this upgrade, both carts gain maneuverability and stability on rough terrain and loose gravel. Learn more at Dramm.com.