June 19, 2008

New Product Shorts

Super Model GF Delta T Solutions:   Shield tubular gas-fired unit heaters are the newest product offering in Delta T Solutions’ full line of greenhouse heating systems. Also called the Model GF, this complete heating system offers innovative features that make it a long-lasting and reliable source of safe, efficient and economical greenhouse heating. Some key product features of the Model GF heaters include stainless steel construction designed to withstand moisture and chemicals and a tubular heat exchanger for significantly longer life.  Tough Tunnel Agra Tech: The Agra Hi-Tunnel is designed to cover very large areas and can withstand high winds and pounding rain. Constructed of high tensile galvanized tubing, installation is simple and requires no concrete foundation. In addition, the Agra Hi-Tunnel can be covered with Poly or cloth for further protection from undesirable climate and insects. Sure Thing CH2O Incorporated: CH2O has introduced its patented Sure Flow irrigation […]

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June 19, 2008

Fueling Expansion

Generation X growers are ready for tomorrow’s challenges. Pictured from left are John Bonner, sister Jill Cain with husband Todd Cain. When we visited, they were growing Easter crops in new greenhouses.In less than 10 years, Eagle Creek Growers in Mantua, Ohio, has emerged as a model mid-sized operation with room to grow. The modern growing operation was founded in 1998 by Jill (Bonner) Cain about an hour’s drive southeast of Cleveland. She was fresh out of college, implementing a business plan she drafted for a course at Ohio University. Up until recently, Eagle Creek’s primary customer was Eagle Creek Garden Center, an upscale destination garden center she opened in nearby Bainbridge four years later. In 2003, her brother, John Bonner, and husband, Todd Cain, took over the wholesale operation while Jill focused most of her time on retail. Both John and Jill are third-generation entrepreneurs in our industry. Their grandfather, […]

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June 19, 2008

Who’s Your Mr. Fix-It?

To be honest, greenhouses mystify me. I don’t know how all of you out there do it. So much can go wrong–disease and pests, nutrition–and that’s just problems with your plants. Your structures are a whole other story. There are so many things to worry about–not enough heat, too much heat, expensive heat, water logistics. And, of course, there are the more extreme worries–debilitating hurricanes, fires and snowstorms. Getting ahead and staying ahead of structures issues is a job in itself, forget about growing great plants. That’s why we were so impressed when we visited Eagle Creek’s greenhouses in Mantua, Ohio. Siblings John Bonner and Jill Cain gave us the grand tour of the facilities, but Gary Jansen, the facility’s maintenance magician and all-around Mr. Fix-It, really impressed us. The facility has switched its fuel source from petroleum-based products to wood-based products. And the mid-sized operation has two huge indoor pools […]

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June 19, 2008

Under New Management

Last fall, the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association (NGMA) contracted with Calabrese Management, an organizational management firm based in Harrisburg, Pa. After 10 years with its previous executive director, Melanie Hughes of Hughes & Stuart Marketing in Littleton, Colo., NGMA is sure to go through some changes. NGMA’s new executive director, Denise R. Calabrese, owner of Calabrese Management, says her firm’s goal is to work with the volunteer leadership to strengthen NGMA as an organization. “We will be working with the board of directors to analyze existing programs and ensure that the needs of the industry are met,” she says. Some of these more imminent improvements, she adds, will be in the organization’s communication structure–improving NGMA’s Web site and newsletter, and increasing electronic communications. On the educational side, NGMA’s meeting agendas will be strengthened to provide valuable information to the industry, Calabrese says. For instance, the annual meeting NGMA hosts each spring […]

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June 19, 2008

NGMA: The Next Generation

Fifty years makes a huge difference in the evolution of greenhouse architecture. From lean-tos and quonsets to gutter-connected, retractable-roof structures, commercial greenhouses have gained much from advances in technology. With more modern greenhouses have come advancements in the “furniture” to fill them, also known as greenhouse equipment and supplies, as well as innovative plastic films, which have revolutionized greenhouse shapes and framing systems. The growth of commercial floriculture and greenhouse vegetables over the years has fueled demand for greenhouse technology, and new manufacturers have emerged, raising competition and quality standards. All of this innovation needed organization–enter the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association (NGMA). Founded in 1958, NGMA represents 65 member companies–27 component, 14 structural and nine service. These include greenhouse manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, as well as researchers, students, growers and other allied trades serving the international horticulture industry. Retrofitting Itself Today, NGMA is working to promote and defend greenhouse construction […]

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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

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

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

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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