March 19, 2008

The Liquid Crystaled Greenhouse

The Cleveland Botanical Garden has teamed with Kent State University’s Liquid Crystal Institute in an attempt to examine how greenhouse plants grow under sunlight that passes through liquid crystal windows.  The idea, highlighted in a recent edition of the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, spawned from the botanical garden’s desire to reduce the cost of energy. If results of the experiment are positive enough, a second experiment will be conducted to determine whether ultraviolet and infrared waves can be modified enough to, perhaps, shorten the time it takes plants to grow.  And that’s where cost-saving enters play. If liquid crystals prove more beneficial in growing plants, greenhouse owners can use them instead of shade cloths to control the amount of sunlight entering their structures.  Liquid crystals aren’t common in greenhouse coverings. They’re usually found in television screens and wristwatches, but that didn’t stop Cleveland Botanical Garden from pursuing this experiment and considering […]

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March 19, 2008

Looking For Options In Hot Water Heating Systems?

Delta T Solutions has redesigned its Web site to make exploring for options and costs easier.  The redesigned corporate and customer Web site, found at, features enhancements that include an interactive product selection and proposal section, extensive product overview and installation/maintenance pages, and client testimonials.  “When it came time to update the Delta T Solutions Web site, we decided to do a complete overhaul,” says Russ Zabel, Delta T Solutions general manager. “We wanted it to be more visually appealing and packed with easy-to-access information on our products and services.”

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January 16, 2008

Still Time To Weigh In On Top 25 Innovations

We kicked off our 25th anniversary celebration by publishing a list of the Top 25 Innovations that advanced greenhouse floriculture crop production. Twenty growers and industry experts completed the survey, which determined this list. Now we’ve opened up the survey to our entire readership to see if the results would be the same. If you’d like to take the survey, click through to this link. It will take about a half hour to complete. For a list of the Top 25 Innovations published in our January issue, click here.

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January 2, 2008

Grower Solution: Diesel-Heated Trucks

Blooming potted plant grower Jim Dickerson of Dickerson’s Greenhouse in Gobles, Mich., has found a cost effective way to add reliable heat to one of his trucks. While reefer units with both refrigeration and heat can cost between $15,000 and $20,000, the Proheat X45 auxiliary heater manufactured by Teleflex Power Systems is a more affordable option and fits nicely with winter deliveries. Dickerson’s delivers live plants to about 700 stores and warehouses over a wide area, from Michigan west into the Dakotas and Nebraska, using a 24-foot insulated dry van truck. The company’s delivery fleet also includes a truck with the reefer unit that can be set to keep plants at a constant temperature when outside temperatures plummet below freezing. Dickerson just finished shipping its signature crop, poinsettias, and is getting ready to ship winter and spring bulb crops—Easter lilies, tulips and hyacinths. Since he began using the Proheat X45 […]

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October 24, 2007

Al’s Loses Roof In Wind Storm

The Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore., reported this weekend that a heavy storm ripped the roof off a greenhouse at Al’s Garden Center and damaged several other structures on the property. According to the article, the garden center’s owner Jack Bigej said the roofs on the 82 greenhouses on the property are built to withstand at least 65 mph winds. Fortunately, none of the damaged structures housed poinsettias. Damage to the poinsettia crop would have been a hard hit to the business, Bigej said in the article. The National Weather Service is working to determine if a tornado touched down in the area. In addition to the production facility in Hubbard, Ore., near Woodburn, Al’s has retail locations in Portland’s suburbs Sherwood and Gresham. Al’s Garden Center happens to be our October cover story. Read it here.

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October 10, 2007

New Production Management Software

SBI Nursery Software in Portland, Ore., has introduced a new module that provides complete production management. Users begin by laying out a production plan by copying plans from previous years and comparing them to sales history, lost sales and inventory dumps. The user lays out how much of an item they want saleable on a specific finish date and then plans how to grow it by setting up the recipe. The system then automates purchasing of materials for produciton, which inclludes plant material and other inputs. The final functionality lets the user manage production with work orders being sent out to propagate, transplant and execute critical tasks. The greatest challenge whle developing this package has been to keep the user interface simple and efficient, says SBI partner Aaron Allison, who has worked in the green industry for 15 years. SBI has worked with several key customers during development, allowing the […]

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September 26, 2007

GROWER TOOL: Greenhouse Heating Guide

Roberts-Gordon, LLC, in Buffalo, N.Y., is offering free copies of its guide, “Gas-Fired, Infrared Heating For Greenhouses. This manual is a concise, 60-page educational resource for commercial greenhouse growers, suppliers and heating professionals. To download the guide, go to

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June 27, 2007

Virtual Greenhouse

Build the perfect greenhouse or upgrade your existing facilities by experimenting via computer. Find out how much it costs to heat with different fuels, heating schedules, heaters, building designs and materials. Download the software developed by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Toledo, Ohio, at:

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May 16, 2007

Fire At Bonnie Plant Farm

A fire broke out Monday afternoon at Bonnie Plant Farm’s greenhouses in Nora Springs, Iowa, resulting in the loss of $45,000 worth of tomatoes, flowers and herbs. For the news story, visit:

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March 7, 2007

BFG Acquires Kalamazoo Supply Division

BFG Supply Co. in Burton, Ohio, has acquired the horticultural supply division of the Kalamazoo Valley Plant Growers Cooperative. The cooperative of about 60 growing operations will continue to produce and market finished plants for retailers and remain independent. Only the supply division is involved in the transaction. For the complete news release go to

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February 21, 2007

Growers And Retailers Share Snow Stories

On The Radio In Buffalo We are a full-service retail florist in Buffalo, N.Y., with a half acre of greenhouses. We had our localized storm on Oct. 12 and 13, where 22 inches of snow brought down tree branches that had not shed their leaves. Eighty percent of the area was without power for several days and we lost 240 panes in the greenhouses. Hortica Insurance took care of this nicely. For Valentine’s Day, we had about 400 deliveries to make in one day. The threat of the storm was frightening, but love must prevail. Our talk radio station, WBEN, where we were advertising called my brother Frank (the oice in our ads and dispatcher of our drivers) on Tuesday afternoon to ask if they could do an on-air phone interview on Valentine’s morning, which he agreed to. The next morning they announced they would be interviewing Frank Mischler of […]

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January 17, 2007

Online Biodiesel Information Available From John Deere

Lenexa, Kansas, January 4, 2007 – John Deere announced that it has expanded content on its Web site to provide information on biodiesel and other biofuel topics that are important to producers and others in agriculture. The John Deere biofuels information can be accessed at and contains a detailed biofuels reference report and 6.5-minute video that overviews John Deere’s position on the use of biodiesel. “John Deere has been an early advocate for biodiesel and continues to actively support its use,” says Don Borgman, director of agricultural industry relations for John Deere. “We believe that supporting the use of 2 percent biodiesel (B2) is a logical first step for the industry until challenges with production, quality and distribution are addressed. “The biodiesel content on the Web site will help provide farmers and others interested in biofuels with more detailed information on this topic and John Deere’s position on how […]

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