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

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 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 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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January 18, 2010

Hanna Introduces HI 5000 Mini Fertigator

Hanna Instruments recently unveiled its latest product, the HI 5000 Mini Fertigator, which is an all-in-one, ready-to-use control system. The Mini Fertigator is compact and versatile, bringing precision nutrient and acid control to professional growers. It’s easy to install and comes completely pre-assembled. To install the unit, growers simply attach two pipes and plug in the power cord. No wiring or assembly is required. To inject nutrients, the Mini Fertigator uses a venturi, so there are no high-maintenance peristaltic pumps to worry about. Hanna’s included Blackstone pump can handle full-strength acid, so there is no need to risk an accident with dilution. Hanna’s flat-tipped probes are also highly resistant to fouling and clogging. Additionally, an automated dosing feature allows growers to optimize growth without spending half the time measuring, mixing and dosing. The Mini Fertigator allows the grower to set precision dosing during vegetative stages, maximizing harvest and profit. For […]

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January 14, 2010

Irrigation Technology Reduces Waste Water

Forsta Filters has developed technology for reducing backwash waste water by as much as 75 percent. The company’s technology is called Green-Clean. Without interrupting system flow during backwash, Green-Clean technology utilizes smaller flush valves to minimize the volume of water required to remove buildup on a filter element. Using internal vacuum nozzles, the new Green-Clean system scans and removes debris from the filter in 15 seconds or less. This combination of short duration and small flush valve make the Green-Clean backwash cycle efficient. Forsta Filters offers a full line of self-cleaning water filters (1- to 36-inch flange size) with screen elements ranging from 5 to 4,000 micron. Integrating the Green-Clean technology in all products maximizes efficiency and reduces waste water and energy costs. Filters are constructed from all stainless steel and designed to provide a long-term solution to a wide range of industrial and municipal applications. For more information on […]

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January 6, 2010

Dramm Hires Les Evans

Dramm has hired Les Evans as its new technical representative for commercial sales. Evans has 15 years experience in the commercial horticulture industry. He has a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering with a concentration in water, soil and environmental engineering from North Carolina State University. With his background, he has been uniquely positioned to help clients understand their company’s resource allocation and help them become more sustainable, profitable businesses. “Les has been a great resource in the horticulture industry,” says Kurt Becker, director of marketing and sales at Dramm. “His wealth of experience and business objectives will be a great addition to our company.”     Evans will help clients on both the distributor and end-user levels for most of the Northeastern United States.  “It is a real honor to be a part of the Dramm Corporation,” he says. “I have had the pleasure of working with many of their people […]

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December 28, 2009

Open Your Mind To Open Roof

Why spend thousands of dollars every month to cool a greenhouse with exhaust fans when nature can do it for free? An open-roof greenhouse can drive down your energy costs significantly–but for many, this option has been priced out of reach.      No More Teardown It is no longer necessary to tear down a 30-year-old building and invest in a new structure to increase plant quality or decrease operating costs. With a Sun Ridge vent, it is possible to transform an outdated greenhouse into a modern, efficient growing environment. From pansies to poinsettias or wholesale to retail, the Sun Ridge is an upgrade for any greenhouse. A little money goes a long way with the Sun Ridge. Requiring the same motors as a traditional roof vent, the Sun Ridge more than doubles a grower’s vent opening without doubling a grower’s investment in equipment.  Are you planning to change your […]

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November 11, 2009

New Product: Sprayer Calibrator

Innoquest, designers and manufacturers of sensors and measurement instruments, unveils the SpotOn sprayer calibrator, a handheld electronic flow rate checker for spray nozzles. The SpotOn sprayer calibrator quickly and accurately measures flow rate, which helps to reduce the likelihood of inaccurate chemical application by validating nozzle performance. “Recent research indicates fewer than 5 percent of chemical applications have been within 5 percent of desired target rates,” says Bill Hughes, president of Innoquest. “This inaccuracy can cost growers between $2 and $12 per acre, which adds up over time and acres. The SpotOn Sprayer Calibrator helps reduce these inaccuracies.” Simple to use and maintain, the battery-powered SpotOn Sprayer Calibrator can be operated with one hand and is ideal for use in determining sprayer output and indicating when spray nozzles are worn or in need of replacement. After being placed under the nozzle tip, the SpotOn sprayer calibrator displays measurements in 10 […]

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October 29, 2009

Analyzing Soil Humidity Remotely: Your Sixth Sensor

Growing up, you learn that relationships are built on trust. Growing in a greenhouse, you learn the relationship you have with your plants is also built on trust–mostly trusting yourself when it comes to knowing what your crops like and don’t like, need and don’t need. Hoogendoorn Growth Management developed a wireless monitoring system called Sensiplant that determines the soil humidity of your container crops, so you can trust your watering regime a little more. Humidity Matters Sensiplant measures moisture in pots as a percentage, says Pete Hendriksen, North American sales manager at Hoogendoorn. “It determines what the moisture percentage is in a pot with various media, pot sizes and growing conditions. It’s wholly and specifically designed for the greenhouse industry.” Sensiplant is made up of sensors, wireless routers, an access point (your greenhouse computer) and a software program that analyzes measurements. Simply explained, Sensiplant sensors/transmitters are placed inside the […]

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October 19, 2009

Transplanter Tuneup

There are steps just about any grower can take to upgrade the efficiency of their plug transplanting line. And you don’t have to invest $150,000 in a new automated transplanter to do it. In fact, a basic set-up–a conveyor for hand-transplanting, a watering tunnel and a tagging machine–can improve the quality of the transplants and the efficiency of the process and lead to significant labor savings over a season.   Even the smallest growers can automate to some extent by having the material passing by on a conveyor as employees hand-transplant plugs into finish trays, says Rapid Automated’s Al Denning. “The belt speed sets the pace for the crew and they aren’t working on their own individual pace.”   Once the basics are in place, growers can increase their volume and continue to control labor costs by adding incremental pieces to the puzzle. “One piece of automation at a time […]

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