April 19, 2013

Greenhouse Covering Released To USA After 29 Years of Success in Europe

Polydress SolaWrap has been successfully used in greenhouses in Europe for three decades and is now being introduced to America. SolaWrap’s unique qualities have led to reported tomato crop advancement in the Mediterranean of three weeks, in the wintertime, in an unheated greenhouse compared to standard greenhouse coverings. Its durability was tested in the extreme heat of Kuwait for a period of 25 years until the outbreak of war destroyed the testing facility. In that 25-year period, the original SolaWrap covering withstood the elements and remained effective. It did not yellow or become brittle or streak. In the converse climate of Manitoba, Canada, where temperatures drop well below freezing, a trial has been in process for more than five years. The results are very promising. Strawberries are growing in this SolaWrap greenhouse in January, and the only heating occurs at night during the dead of winter. However, the greatest test […]

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April 5, 2013

Greenhouse Retrofits And New Builds: Planning Tips

Here are some tips to help you with planning an expansion, reducing operating costs, or improving efficiency. The first step is to know what you want to accomplish. If operation labor reduction is the key motivator behind a retrofit project, then you need to look at how the greenhouse is affecting your labor. The best value for retrofitting will be different than if increasing crop yield is your main goal. Greenhouse Retrofits For Increasing Worker Productivity • Replace stationary benches with rolling benches. In an effort to pack as much production as possible inside the greenhouse, many greenhouse growers leave virtually no space to walk between the crop. With rolling benches, you only need one aisle per house, so you may increase the width of your production aisles without losing any crop production. This enables workers to move more efficiently between the benches. Typically, rolling benches can also offer the […]

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March 18, 2013

Growing Greenhouse Vegetables: Timing The Gaps

For ornamental growers looking for a new product for the gap seasons between traditional crops, vegetables can make a lot of sense. Many of the necessary structures, equipment and techniques are familiar. But there is plenty to learn as well, from nutrition to irrigation strategies to variety selection — a lot of which revolves around timing. We talked with Paul Gallione of Johnny’s Selected Seeds to learn more about the steps he recommends for growers getting started in vegetable production. GG: A lot of the details for adding a crop like vegetables are obviously going to vary for every grower and his own situation. How does timing impact these decisions? Gallione: There’s more to it than just saying, “OK, I’m an ornamental grower and my greenhouse is empty and I’m going to grow vegetables.” Don’t get me wrong — there’s probably a lot of equipment, labor and infrastructure that can be utilized for […]

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March 6, 2013

GGS Structures Expands And Hires, Reflecting Increasing Structures Needs

GGS Structures Inc. is in the process of expanding its office headquarters and hiring additional key personnel as a result of increased North American and international business. A few weeks ago, GGS began a major renovation, which included adding office space to their headquarters in Vineland Station, Ont. “We have expanded our drafting and design department in order to satisfy the growing need for specialty institutional greenhouses as well as commercial growers looking for turnkey greenhouse project management solutions” says Leigh Coulter, president of GGS. “We have also hired an experienced business development manager to focus on emerging opportunities.” The expansion is expected to be completed by April, with the additional team members moving into the new space shortly thereafter. “With the ability to plan, design and execute full turnkey commercial greenhouse projects, and the increased interest in these projects worldwide, we are confident that this expansion will result in […]

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February 5, 2013

LINX Greenhouses Division Adds An Affordable New Tier To Nexus Corp.’s Offerings

Nexus Corp. has long had a reputation as serving the high end of the commercial greenhouse structures market for both growers and retailers. That description is expanding a bit with the introduction of the company’s new LINX Greenhouses division. LINX offers a new tier of structures to the Nexus offerings — a freestanding product line with an affordable mix of three gothic- and arch-profile structures. Scott Thompson, a past NGMA President and active industry participant in sales, product development and customer service for more than 30 years, joined Nexus in August 2012 and brought his years of design and technology experience to help put together the LINX division and its products. We talked with Thompson for his perspective on the new division and what he thinks LINX will bring to the grower market. GG: How would you describe the LINX line of structures to a grower?Thompson: What was critical in […]

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February 5, 2013

Grants Make Greenhouse Projects Possible

With energy costs ranking as one of the top concerns for greenhouse growers, it makes sense to take advantage of energy-efficient equipment and technology. But the cost of retrofitting or adding new equipment can be cost-prohibitive, and it’s often difficult to come up with the capital, even though the savings will be greater in the long-term. This is where government utility-based incentives can play a role. These programs are designed to provide and incentive and make it more feasible for businesses to make investments in energy-saving technology, thus helping to reduce energy consumption overall. Incentives come in several forms. In order to take advantage of incentives, growers need to become educated about how to apply and what types of projects are usually funded. Types Of Incentives “There are three types of incentives,” says Dan Kuipers, solar sales manager and grant specialist with TrueLeaf Technologies, a supplier of heating, irrigation and […]

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February 4, 2013

Is New Greenhouse Production Space A Sign Of A Good 2013?

Are you working on improving your structures this year? If so, what are you doing? If not, what would your next project be? And what do these plans mean about the 2013 season? That’s what we asked you in our 2013 State of the Industry survey. There are growers who will be adding production area next year. In our survey, 36.7 percent of respondents say they will add space in 2013. Here’s the full breakdown: Do you plan to add or retrofit a greenhouse structure in 2013? Yes, we plan to add or retrofit a greenhouse in 2013 36.7 percent No, we see no need to add or retrofit in 2013 39.3 percent No, we can’t afford to add or retrofit, even though the need exists 24 percent We also asked growers even if they don’t plan to actually add or retrofit, what are their highest priorities? The answers varied on […]

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November 13, 2012

Is The Greenhouse Of The Future A Skyscraper In The City?

Is the future of the greenhouse industry in the city? Will you be looking to add extra floors rather than more land to your greenhouse? Swedish-American company Plantagon is offering a solution that builds a high-rise model for urban agriculture, rather than the traditional sprawling greenhouse range. Plantagon’s helix-shaped greenhouse offers clean and sustainable food production in urban areas. In addition to standalone greenhouses, Plantagon creates commercial buildings, such as offices and hotels, with functional greenhouse area built into the facade. Growing area can also be retrofitted onto existing high-rise buildings. The structures provide the buildings with shade, but let through enough sunlight for office activity. The idea behind the production area for the urban agriculture greenhouses is that vegetables are grown in pots and trays, which are watered using an ebb-and-flood technique. Capillary mats are used at the bottoms of trays to keep plants irrigated. Planting happens in the […]

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September 4, 2012

Nexus Announces Head Of New Product Group

CEO of Nexus Greenhouse Systems Cheryl Longtin announced August 28, 2012, that Scott Thompson will head their new product group. Thompson brings over 32 years of experience in designing, selling and developing greenhouse products to the director of sales position for the new sales organization.  “It is important to our customers to know that when they call us, they are dealing with the most knowledgeable people in the industry and that they have the experience to solve their problems. Currently our sales organization has over 175 years of combined greenhouse experience,” Longtin says. “People who have worked with Scott know that he will be a good fit for our experienced team. The loyalty that his current customers exhibit prove that he has the qualities we were looking for to lead Nexus into a new area of the commercial greenhouse market. When someone of Scott’s integrity combined with his sales experience […]

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July 18, 2012

Do High Tunnels Make The Cut?

Increased consumer interest in farmers’ markets, buying local and sustainability make this an opportune time for domestic specialty cut flower growers. Local market advantages of specialty cut flowers exist, including product freshness, quality and availability of stems that do not ship well or are difficult to find. Currently, an estimated 73 percent of cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported. However, the number of domestically grown specialty cut flower stems sold has increased from 81 percent of total U.S. cut flowers produced in 2005 to 92 percent in 2010. To compare high tunnel and field production of specialty cuts, one must consider flower quality and yield. Plant size and architecture are quality parameters of these crops, and they can be controlled culturally (i.e. fertility and growth regulators) and environmentally (i.e. temperature and light). Flower size, number of flower buds, time to flower and stem length and strength can influence […]

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July 18, 2012

High Tunnels: Grow Better Bedding Plants In Cold Weather

Bedding production begins in mid- to late-winter and early spring in the northern half of the U.S., when outdoor air temperatures and light are at seasonally low levels. During this time, greenhouses must be heated to maintain desirable production temperatures. The costs involved can be huge. Energy for heating in northern climates accounts for 10 to 30 percent of the total operating costs of commercial greenhouses. So it makes sense to find alternative strategies. Our research shows that high tunnels are a viable alternative for plant producers. High tunnels are an unheated polyhouse or hoop house covered with a single layer of plastic, although a double layer of plastic or additional covering inside may be used. In floriculture, high tunnels are most commonly used in cut-flower production for season extension and protection against frost, rain and wind. They are also used to produce and overwinter containerized herbaceous and woody perennials. […]

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June 18, 2012

XS Smith Ending 66 Years in Business This Summer

Citing a difficult economy and the federal government’s more restrictive lending policies, XS Smith, a fourth generation family-owned and operated greenhouse manufacturer, is closing its doors this summer. “It’s not an easy situation or an easy decision,” says Skip Smith, president of XS. “But we’ve had the slowest spring in the last 40 years. We’re forecasting out, and the industry’s not looking good.” Smith says they’ve seen many of their customers go bankrupt, including Carolina Nurseries, one of their largest, which closed two years ago. “Most, if not all, my other large customers I talk to say I’m doing the smart thing,” he says. A huge surplus of used greenhouses has also affected his business. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has made borrowing money much more difficult as well, Smith says, saying the law now requires a complete reevaluation of the property when applying for a […]

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