June 17, 2009

Advanced Automation

A one-gallon pot is no longer just a one-gallon pot for growers who serve the home improvement chains and mass merchandisers. Retailers want to differentiate with their own pricepoint, sticker and style, and that creates more costs for growers. For a grower like Garden State Growers, which serves Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart, keeping production for its three biggest accounts in separate bays is a priority. Shipping a Lowe’s pot to a Home Depot store is an obvious no-no, and general manager Roy den Hollander believes equipment and automation play a big role in Garden State’s accurate track record. “All three retailers want their logo on pots,” den Hollander says. “We’re looking to drop the starter pot into another pot that has the customer-specific information on it. Whether a machine strips one pot and puts on another or puts a pot over starter pots, the idea is to have pots […]

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June 17, 2009

Garden State’s Conveyors: Advanced Automation

A one-gallon pot is no longer just a one-gallon pot for growers who serve the home improvement chains and mass merchandisers. Retailers want to differentiate with their own pricepoint, sticker and style, and that creates more costs for growers. For a grower like Garden State Growers, which serves Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart, keeping production for its three biggest accounts in separate bays is a priority. Shipping a Lowe’s pot to a Home Depot store is an obvious no-no, and general manager Roy den Hollander believes equipment and automation play a big role in Garden State’s accurate track record. “All three retailers want their logo on pots,” den Hollander says. “We’re looking to drop the starter pot into another pot that has the customer-specific information on it. Whether a machine strips one pot and puts on another or puts a pot over starter pots, the idea is to have pots […]

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June 17, 2009

Equipment For Efficiency

Dramm The new 65 Touch N’ Flow trigger valve has been completely reengineered for true professional use. The 65 offers double the flow– 11 GPM at 40 PSI–and greatly increased durability. Durability testing at Dramm shows the new 65 is similar to the company’s top-of-the-line 300 brass and aluminum valves. Spectrum Technologies The new FieldScout CM 1000 NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) meter uses point-and-shoot technology to instantly measure reflected light in red and near infrared spectral bands. The meter uses these measurements to calculate NDVI. The higher the NDVI measurement, the healthier the plant. Growing Systems The lightweight dibbler is available to accurately dibble proper diameter holes into the media of cell packs, plug trays and all other container configurations. Complete with stripper plate that allows for adjustable and uniform pin penetration into cells, flats or pots, the dibbler improves transplanting efficiency. Hoogendoorn The iSii is an advanced greenhouse […]

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June 16, 2009

Need Better Cooling Efficiency?

Quietaire’s evaporative cooling pads offer advantages for more efficient and economical evaporative cooling. Cooling pads are made from a specially formulated cellulose impregnanted with a thermosetting resin. They have a cross-corrugated, angle-flute cellulose construction and are available in thicknesses of 4 or 6 inches. Pads are 12 inches wide and available in 12-inch increments from 24 to 72 inches. One benefit of the cooling pads is they’re durable and long lasting. To get the most out of pads, Quietaire suggests a good preventative maintenance program: –Maintain the pH of the recycled water between 6 and 9. When these limits are exceeded, there is degradation and potential fan failure. –Deposits from salt water will occur at concentrations above 50,000 ppm. Keep salt water concentration in the make up water to less than 40,000 ppm and in recycle water at less than 50,000 ppm. Adjust the bleed-off rate to minimize salt build […]

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June 10, 2009

View: The Perfect Formula For Success

Hey, welcome back … to reality that is. Becoming reacquainted with reality is a wonderful and valuable incidental benefit of a crisis, economic or otherwise. Anyone who has faced the imminent probability of death has a better appreciation of life; just like person who has faced the potential of economic ruin or loss has a better appreciation for the benefits of economic success and conservatism; or the person who has staked a fortune on the promises of “greenness” and learned it is still about quality product, quality service, fair prices and good business management.  Once again, it was confirmed the most important factor in the year-to-year success of our business is how many sunny Saturdays there are in April and May. Once again, the day to day success of our industry has been confirmed to be how well you manage your business. Yes, a penny saved is a penny earned. […]

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June 4, 2009

GGS Buys Niagrow Systems

Structures manufacturer GGS announced the purchase of Niagrow Systems, hot water heating systems supplier for greenhouses in North America. Niagrow Systems Manager Wim van der Windt will continue to manage the company as an independent subsidiary business of GGS. Leigh Coulter, one of the owners of GGS, described the move as the best of all worlds. “GGS is a structures manufacturer, and we are the best at what we do. Niagrow Systems is an engineering design company, and they know heating systems better than anyone else. These are two very different companies. By keeping them under separate management, we ensure that the best qualities of each are focused on. That is better for our customers, and therefore, better for us.” Van der Windt says he is pleased with joining the GGS group of companies. “GGS brings with it a renewed focus in providing the best products and services to greenhouse […]

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June 2, 2009

Knox Nursery Profiting From RFID

Knox Nursery set out last year to market its Grower’s Own RFID-based system to other growers. Now, the system is commercially available, and an upgraded version with additional features is slated to become available in the third quarter this year. RFID Journal recently featured Knox Nursery and the Grower’s Own software system in an article titled “RFID Raises Profits at Plant Nursery.” The Grower’s Own system collects inventory data and enables the staff to know what inventory it has in the greenhouse. The staff knows how much of each item it has, as well as when trays were shipped. Employees can also use it to determine in which section of the greenhouse tray are stored. To revisit our Mid-September feature on Knox Nursery and learn more about its RFID system,.

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May 29, 2009

Acrylic Covering Offers Savings

Acrylite Deglas acrylic sheets from New Jersey-based Evonik Cyro LLC help reduce energy consumption and cost. “We aren’t just paying lip service here, we intend to show that our high-tech material enables users throughout the continent to take cost-effective and environmentally conscious action,” says Stephen Costanzo, general manager of Evonik Cyro’s acrylic sheet business line. Acrylite Deglas double-skinned acrylic sheets reduce energy consumption in greenhouses with their favorable heat insulation, and therefore automatically cut an operator’s carbon dioxide emissions. Growers can make an active contribution to climate protection and reduce their monthly overheads at the same time. “Saving energy means cutting costs and carbon dioxide,” says Michael Ehmann, North American Acrylite Deglas manager. “Greenhouses represent a major long-term investment. By planning with foresight and using Acrylite Deglas sheet products, these potential savings can be secured for decades. That is an ideal combination.” Evonik Cyro is building an energy savings campaign […]

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May 27, 2009

Svensson Cloth Effective On Mums

Obscura W/W, a multilayer structure of white/black/white films with black yarn, creates a highly reflective, porous surface with very low light transmission that shortens days for garden mums. To force garden mums with the seven weeks of short days (13 hours of night) they need, Obscura W/W solves many challenges, including high night temperatures and interrupted darkness. Unlike black plastic film, Obscura W/W doesn’t collect rainwater and crush plants. It won’t absorb heat and humidity, either, and it’s lightweight and easy to handle. “Obscura W/W is the better way to force garden mums,” says Kurt Parbst, president of Svensson’s North and South American subsidiary. “Getting mums to market faster certainly increases growers’ chances of earning higher prices.” Obscura W/W allows less than 0.5 percent light transmission and is made with a porous yarn structure built to release rainwater and excess humidity. Its superior reflective surface greatly reduces heat buildup and […]

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May 26, 2009

Reconfiguring Facilities For Retail

If you’ve heard marketing consultant Judy Sharpton speak, you know she’s a proponent of Paco Underhill’s book, “Why We Buy,” and a stickler against the butt brush, an Underhill theory in which customers “brush butts” as they pass because aisles and spaces are too narrow to navigate otherwise. Sound like a problem you’ve encountered at a garden center, perhaps even a dilemma you face at your own if you’re a grower-retailer? Now is the time to recognize the problem and consider alternatives to fix it. Let’s start with an analysis of bench layouts and basic ways you can convert commercial greenhouses into customer-friendly areas for retail. Sacrificing Space For starters, growers must realize greenhouse production area is different than retail area for product. Retail space should be more open than production space, particularly at the heart of spring when customers intend to load multiple products onto carts. If a grower’s retail […]

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May 26, 2009

Online Only: Warschauer’s Conversion Tips

Jeff Warschauer, vice president of sales for Nexus Corp., lists factors growers should consider before converting production space to retail. 1. Availability. Analyze the space you have to use for retail and when you can have access to that space, particularly if you are going from winter growing space to retail space in April. 2. Parking. How many cars you can park is an important factor in the retail design. There’s no use investing in 30,000 square feet of retail upgrades and new benches when parking is far away and only 20 cars can be parked. Design ratios are very important. 3. Retail product. What will you be retailing? The answer may help you decide which benches and displays you’ll need and the best location. 4. Benching. Enclosed greenhouse space, canopy and covered walk space may all use different bench layouts. 5. Shade. You’ll need shade area if you plan […]

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May 26, 2009

Big-Time Benches

AgraTech Mobil tray benches are capable of rolling from house to house and even outside for their daily dose of hardening. Mobil tray benches are easy to operate and have long lifespans. Bartlett Bench & Wire Moveable tables offer the same space savings plus significant labor savings. The key benefits are maximum bench and minimum aisle space, and minimal handling expense. Moveable table systems especially make sense when there are several turns of plants in a season in which labor savings are important. Nexus Greenhouse Systems See an immediate impact on your bottom line with Nexus’ proprietary self-watering benches. Reduce labor, shrink and water usage. Nexus benches are an easy-to-maintain, eco-friendly, sustainable solution. Contact Nexus at 800-228-9639 (ext. 543) for more information. Harnois Industries Harnois benches are quick and easy to install. Benches allow for the maximum use of your work area and make every square foot of your greenhouse […]

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