June 18, 2008

Here Comes The Cold

September’s here, and heating season is just around the corner. It’s the perfect time to get out and make sure your heating system is ready for the next few months. A bit of routine maintenance will ensure your plants will have the warmth they need, when they need it. The National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association offers heating guidelines (you can download a copy at www.ngma.com/downloads.htm), including a 12-point preseason maintenance checklist. We spoke with a few experts in the field–Russell Zabel, general manager, Delta T Solutions; Gregory Gawne, vice president business development, Total Energy Group; and Chris Smith, marketing manager, L.B. White Co.–to get their input on some of the items on the NGMA list, as well as a few other helpful tips on how to get the most out of your fall heating maintenance: 1. Check equipment for physical damage. Check the sheet metal, fans and air movers, wiring, fuel piping […]

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June 18, 2008

Time Is Money

From labor savings to quality of life, there are many ways growers measure return on investment (ROI) that go beyond the traditional monetary payback. In the end, time spent doing a task that could be quicker, more accurate and more efficient if it were automated translates to dollar signs anyway. It’s all in how you look at it and what your end goal might be. Aside from the general three-to-five-year ROI rule of thumb, there are times when an investment can be considered a “no-brainer,” but there are also times when a grower has to stifle enthusiasm about an investment. We talked to representatives of two very innovative grower operations–one large and one small–with very different philosophies. Both are cautious and calculated about making buying decisions and their methods clearly work for their own needs and goals.  Buying Time The smartest decision Lloyd Traven, owner of Peace Tree Farm in Kintnersville, […]

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June 18, 2008

New Product Shorts

  Easy Sprayer Dramm: Dramm has improved its easy-to-use Hydra Sprayer, redesigning the cart and tank and replacing the 45-gallon tank with a 50-gallon tank. The new 50-gallon tank has an improved sump well that ensures proper draining. The 50-gallon size makes mixing calculations easier. The Hydra features an anti-birdnesting hose reel, solid rubber wheels, easy-to-maneuver rear casters, an extra high-flow, low maintenance pump and ergonomic, forward motion Hydra spray gun. Accurate Relilability  Chemilizer: The Chemilizer CP33 is an adjustable, non-electric water-driven injector ideally suited for nursery and greenhouse use and water chlorination. It precisely injects liquid fertilizers, fungicides, insecticides and growth regulators. It offers accurate, reliable injection and is backed by an excellent warranty. Speed, Muscle And Brains  Wadsworth Control Systems: Wadsworth’s new 3 RPM VC-2000 drive unit for roof vents and roll-up side walls is 2 1/2 times as fast as the original VC-2000. It does not sacrifice […]

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June 18, 2008

New Product Shorts

Thrips Control BASF: Pylon, a miticide/insecticide is now labeled for thrips control (pending state registrations) and can be used on both ornamentals and greenhouse-grown vegetables. It can be used until the day of harvest for greenhouse-grown vegetables. Pylon is also labeled for mites, caterpillars, armyworms, pinworms, fruitworms, hornworms and cabbage loopers. Pylon features translaminar action, activity on larval and adult stages and 12-hour REI. Three Walls CO-EX Corporation: Macrolux triple wall polycarbonate sheets are now being offered by CO-EX Corporation. They come in sizes of 6, 8 and 10 mm. The 6-mm triple wall has a 32 percent increase in flute space, compared to a twin wall. Macrolux triple wall also has light transmission up to 75 percent and a higher R-value. It is easy to install. Growing Up Seedlings GroForIt: Gro-Mat, a heated rubber mat from GroForIt, gives gentle heat to seedlings and helps them grow. Gro-Mat is waterproof […]

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June 18, 2008

Mix Masters

Sun Gro Horticulture has introduced two new bark mixes to the market: Metro-Mix 830 and Metro-Mix 852. Metro-Mix 830 is a mid-weight bark mix for growing crops such as poinsettias, bedding plants, hanging baskets, geraniums and pot mums. For perennial growers, Metro-Mix 852 is a heavyweight bark mix that contains 50 to 60 percent composted pine bark for excellent drainage and container stability. Both products are pH adjusted and formulated with a long-lasting wetting agent and a nutrient charge that provides all necessary macro- and micronutrients. They’re available in 2.8 and 60 cubic foot loosefill packaging or in bulk from Sun Gro’s facilities in Elizabeth City, N.C., McCormick, S.C. and Quincy, Mich. Sun Gro also offers custom blends, with the ability to adjust lime rates to counter water quality variation, incorporate approved controlled release fertilizers and biocontrol agents, or add Polyacrylamid gels to help hold water.   Metro-Mix 852 Features • […]

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June 17, 2008

Hot Hot Hot

Maximum Capacity Space-Ray has added four new higher-capacity infrared gas tube heaters to its LTS Series. With capacities ranging from 40,000 BTU/hr to 250,000 BTU/hr., the heaters can be vented, common vented or indirect vented based on application requirements. They come with a factory pre-assembled tube and reflector body and quick six-bolt control box assembly for easy, low cost on-site installation. The heaters can be thermostatically controlled individually or in groups, with unique monitoring, combustion, ignition and safety features. Optional outside air for combustion can be supplied with a standard 6-inch round duct. The burner comes with a 10-year limited warranty and the tube comes with a five-year limited warranty. Space-Ray can be found on the Web at www.spaceray.com or e-mail [email protected] Solid Sterling Sterling HVAC Products has introduced the Shield stainless steel, tubular, gas-fired unit heater to provide natural gas or propane heating for commercial greenhouse growers, with a […]

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June 17, 2008

Cool Pad

VAL-CO recently introduced the PolAIR EZ-Cool water return trough and evaporative pad support system, which has the latest in evaporative pad cooling technology. This proprietary system uses a unique, raised, ribbed pad tray molded directly into the trough, which keeps the pad elevated above the drain holes, allowing for 100 percent drainage with no spill-over from the tray. The design of PolAIR EZ-Cool trough greatly reduces installation and maintenance time with its quick-connect coupler and full 8-inch cleanout at the end of the trough. The PolAIR evaporative pad cooling system is a complete system available in two models: Extended, which allows for the pad material to be offset from the wall by 10 inches, and Flush, for direct installation onto the wall. To help get the air to flow through your house consistently and evenly, VAL-CO also manufactures a complete line of fans to best suit growers’ specific applications. For […]

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June 17, 2008

New Product Shorts

  Super Sprayer  Chemilizer Products: The C3P Chest Pak Sprayer is the ideal alternative to cumbersome backpacks and other portable chemical spraying systems. The C3P accurately mixes chemicals and water as you use it with its patented chemical turbulator. The C3P is designed for accurate, reliable injection of a broad range of chemicals and often eliminates the need to dilute and premix chemicals. The C3P has been ergonomically designed with frontal access for ease of use and better weight management. It reduces fatigue, is easy to maneuver and allows changing from one chemical to another quickly and easily.   No Clogs  Miller-Leaman, Inc.: Patented stainless-steel Thompson Filters prevent sprinkler nozzles and micro-drip emitters from clogging in various irrigation applications. Available in Type 304 and Type 316 stainless steel, the efficient filters feature a large conical screen element, offering substantially more screen surface area versus traditional Y-strainers and basket strainers. The […]

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June 17, 2008

Maintaining Efficiency

P.L. Light Systems provides more than just lights. LightCare is the company’s service and maintenance division, offering full service maintenance and testing for lighting systems. LightCare was initially created to help educate growers about how to maintain their lighting systems to maximize efficiency, saving growers money and keeping optimum crop performance. LightCare can help show growers how much money can be saved by employing small maintenance measures. The LightCare team measures and tests installations in the field and at the laboratory in order to gain insight into the efficiency and quality of the installations’ components.

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June 17, 2008

New Product Shorts

Going Solo SOLO, Inc.: There is no noise, no emission and no need to fill with fuel or manually prime a pump with the new SOLO backpack battery pressure sprayer model 416. The sprayer is powered by a rechargeable, maintenance-free and easily replaceable impact-resistant 12-volt lead-gel battery and produces an impressive spray performance with a 12-volt pump and large five-gallon tank capacity. The unit has wide, padded carrying straps for added comfort and an unbreakable 20-inch-long spray wand and 59-inch-long spray hose for effortless arm movement. It also features adjustable pressure and output volume with a two-step toggle switch–22psi at step one, 40psi at step two. Concise Control Fine Americas, Inc.: Growers looking to produce better ornamental crops now have a new product available with the introduction of Concise plant growth regulator from Fine. Concise produces compact and marketable plants across a broad range of ornamentals, including bedding plants, flowering- […]

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June 17, 2008

Money-Back Guarantees?

Maybe the old adage is true – they just don’t make things the way they used to. But a lot of times, they make them better. Greenhouse equipment, like transplanters, continue to grow in their flexibility and options, while innovations like heat retention curtains and plug tray fillers solve problems in new ways. It all sounds great, but who has the capital for it all? Return on investment is an elusive calculation with all the moving parts of a greenhouse, but how do suppliers suggest growers approach equipment purchases?  Why Automate? As owner of a greenhouse and (presumably) the highest paid staff member, your time is valuable. “A lot of growers don’t consider their time being worth enough, or don’t consider their time at all,” says David Steiner, vice president of the Blackmore Co. Whether it’s your own time or the time of employees, labor is a tricky equation for growers. […]

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June 17, 2008

In Control

Wadsworth Control Systems’ STEP Up control has more functionality than the traditional STEP 50A control but costs less. STEP stands for Single Total Environmental Control, and in addition to loads of new features, the STEP Up has a new look, too. “We decided to update our classic line of STEP controls, and the newest member has a very different look,” says Gary Dean, president of Wadsworth Control Systems. The new device also uses a flat panel touch pad layout with a wheel to navigate, which is high tech yet simple, according to Wadsworth’s Vice President Patricia Dean. “This easy-to-use design appeals to both traditional STEP 50 and STEP 500 users who are accustomed to the easy turn knob, but it is also familiar to iPod users who click and select by turning a virtual wheel,” she says. To make room for the STEP Up control’s push button override switches, the […]

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