June 18, 2008

New Product Shorts

Like A Pro Mitchell Ellis Products: Pro-Wet is a unique, granular form wetting agent manufactured by RichGro Products and available through Mitchell Ellis. Crushed fossilized sponge, also used for soaking up oil spills, is excellent as a carrier for the wetting agent. The fossilized sponge has a broader deposit release time compared to liquid wetting agents, which on average leach out in 30 days. It is available in an aquatic-friendly package, which has a low measure of toxicity. Biodegradable Herbicide Soil Technologies Corp.: Phydura is a broad-spectrum contact herbicide that utilizes clove oil and vinegar as active ingredients. Phydura is a non-selective spray application that is exempt from EPA registration and has no re-entry interval. Weeds controlled include both grasses and broadleaf weeds in landscape, nursery, greenhouse and garden settings. In general, treated weeds are eradicated within 24 hours of treatment. Weeds that are in an early stage of development […]

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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

Earth-Mindful Mixes

PBH Growing Medium Material is a parboiled rice hull amendment and a sustainable replacement for perlite in the growing media. This processed rice hull product from Riceland Foods Inc. is a renewable resource and is very lightweight. PBH is highly compressed when packaged, requiring less storage, handling and freight, and is available in standard or bulk bale. This product is sized, cleaned and subjected to a series of heat treatments that sterilize the rice hulls and render any residual rice kernels, weed seeds or disease pathogens non-viable. The parboiling process includes steeping in water at a temperature higher than 140ËšF, steaming under pressure to temperatures above 212ËšF and hot-air drying at 500ËšF. Recommended PBH usage is 10 to 30 percent of the total growing media, and it should be added last during the blending process. PBH decomposes naturally, but will not do so during the normal production cycle of greenhouse […]

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June 18, 2008

Insights on Retractable Roof Greenhouses

Retractable roofs first came on the production greenhouse scene in 1991. In these past 16 years what have we learned about their role in cooling, ventilating and shading? The concept of opening the greenhouse’s roof to get cooler air to plants is a logical one that most growers are catching on to, according to Richard Vollebregt, President of Cravo Equipment Ltd., Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Long growing seasons, varied needs of plants and changing weather conditions make retractable roof greenhouses and their versatility an asset. This January, a freeze surprised growers on the West Coast, where the promise of mild temperatures lulled growers into leaving crops unprotected against the elements. “The plants that were in the greenhouse were okay,” Vollebregt says. “What happened to all the plants that were outside? They died.” The balance between healthy, strong plants that are grown outside and protected plants in the greenhouse that need to […]

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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 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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June 17, 2008

Essential Equipment

If you think about it, there has been a huge increase in tools and instruments available to greenhouse growers during the last couple of decades that vary from large instruments like greenhouse control computers, to more portable instruments that help with day-to-day monitoring of plant growth. This article outlines some of the portable instruments available today and advantages and disadvantages of each. In many cases, these instruments can save you money by avoiding production problems, reducing the amount of outside testing that needs to be done and helping in immediate problem solving. How many times would you like to know your pH and EC immediately to decide what to fertilize with at that moment? What is your plant temperature? Is your media temperature what you think it is? New instruments available today can answer these questions.  Infrared Thermometers Temperatures are rarely what we think they are! This is especially 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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