July 23, 2010

Storm Damages Green Circle Greenhouses

Green Circle Growers sustained damage to more than 15 acres of greenhouse Thursday night as a result of high winds and storms that moved through Northeast Ohio. Night crews were working at the time of the storm, however no injuries were reported. Damage is still being assessed, but initial reports indicate little structural damage. The biggest loss is of glass panels and to crops beneath them. Learn more about Green Circle Growers at GreenCircleGrowers.com.

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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 […]

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July 15, 2010

Co-Ex’s New Poly Sheet Is Macrolux C

Macrolux C is a new, solid polycarbonate general purpose sheet from Connecticut-based Co-Ex Corporation. Macrolux C is ideal for use in a variety of applications, including machine guards, glazing applications, thermoformed parts and any application needing high light transmission and clarity combined with superior impact strength. A full range of sheets will be offered by CO-EX in thicknesses from 0.093 inches to 0.500 inches thick and sheet sizes of 4 x 8 feet, 5 x 8 feet and 6 x 8 feet. Macrolux C will initially be offered in general purpose grade clear but can be special ordered to meet a grower’s exact specifications. For protection during shipping, it will be supplied with white stick masking on both sides.  Visit co-excorp.com for more information on Macrolux C. Learn about the company’s new sales and marketing director.

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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.

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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.

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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 […]

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July 10, 2010

Green Circle Going Strong

I was fortunate to visit Green Circle last year. Since my visit then, Green Circle has installed five brand-new biomass boilers that heat all 90 acres of the operation’s greenhouses–even its greenhouses located across the street. Green Circle has an extremely impressive system for its massive boilers, starting with its wood chip storage facility and ending in a facility with five the Vynche boilers. Green Circle’s orchid production is a sight to see, as well. It produces about 1.35 million orchids each year and services Walmart, Home Depot and grocery chains. Green Circle’s orchid business with those customers did so well this spring, in fact, that additional greenhouses will be built for more production. In all, Green Circle has 12 bays with orchids and each bay can store 100,000 to 104,000 orchids.

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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.

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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 […]

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May 25, 2010

Snow Loads: Holding The Winter Weight

A brutal winter can be a real wake-up call for growers. Forcing you to ask questions: Are my greenhouse structures up to par? Are they strong enough to withstand heavy snow from a late and unexpected storm while we’re in the middle of production? The questions are legitimate ones, and industry veterans provide some answers. They explain how a little practicality, heat and attentiveness can go a long way – and may even save the season for your operation. Snow Removal Along with keeping a close eye on the local and national weather reports, Jaderloon’s Neil Devaney advises removing all exterior shade cloth before anything else. “The snow will grab that cloth a lot more and hold,” he says. “If that happens, it won’t go anywhere and just turn into ice.” Once the snow starts coming down, Devaney says long-handled brooms and PVC pipes are excellent for manually working the […]

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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 […]

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May 25, 2010

Eager To Build

There is no voice in the sky, like the one delivering messages to Kevin Costner’s character in the movie “Field Of Dreams,” whispering about building greenhouses and the result being more customers. But what if the voice in the sky is, instead, your instinct telling you this is the year to build more greenhouses? Would you follow your instinct? Few growers have followed their instincts to build, at least looking at the last couple years, and they cite poor weather or the economy as the factors that put their operation’s expansion plans off another year. There’s nothing wrong with citing those factors, of course: Good weather is a must and a strong economy is important, too, if you’re going to add greenhouses every year or two. But sticking to a big-picture growth plan–if growth is, in fact, part of the vision you have for your operation–should be a factor in […]

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