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

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

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 18, 2008

Nurturing Urban Gardens

An urban garden in St. Louis will be able to produce more fresh produce for its neighborhood this spring thanks to a new greenhouse it received from Nexus Corp. as part of a national contest. New Roots Urban Farm was chosen as the winning entry. The nonprofit was founded by four friends in 2004 to provide healthy, locally grown food for the impoverished neighborhood located between St. Louis Place and the city’s Old North neighborhoods. No grocery stores are available within walking distance to offer healthy food options. The consensus-based collective is dedicated to serving as a model for urban agriculture, food security and self sustainability. Last year, the farm harvested more than 3,000 pounds of fresh produce and distributed it through its farmers market, which accepts food stamps, and through food pantries, churches and community centers. With the new Cultivator Premier Kit Greenhouse from Nexus, the farm will be […]

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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 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

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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