Dig In To The Talking Shop

Just about every issue of Greenhouse Grower over the last 27 years has offered at least a story or two with production advice to make your job easier. Whether you’re pressed to control a particular crop’s height, fine-tune a substrate’s pH or adjust the amount of light your annuals are taking, Greenhouse Grower has been your go-to source for production advice for more than a quarter century.

But for the first time in Greenhouse Grower’s history, we’re devoting an entire issue to production. This inaugural Talking Shop Issue has an added twist, too, in that past Grower of the Year winners and finalists are doing a bunch of the “talking.”

Want to perfect your plug production? Get insights on producing quality plugs from Andrew Britten (page 8), the director of propagation and technical services at Costa Farms and Total Growth Solutions. Considering venturing into the world of tissue culture at your greenhouse operation? Terra Nova’s Dan Heims has you covered with the guidelines to get you started (page 12). How about a sneak peek inside the perennial playbook of Regina Coronado, our 2010 Head Grower of the Year? Coronado, who’s the head grower at Stacy’s Greenhouses, shares her keys to production, too (page 22).

One great characteristic of the greenhouse floriculture industry is that growers are more than willing to share information with each other. Sure, all growers keep a few “secrets” stashed away in their mental safes – you know, the secrets that separate the perfect crops from the pretty darn good ones – but even the best growers are willing to lend a hand to answer production questions, further another’s and, ultimately, enhance the industry as a whole.

About Talking Shop

Still, there are enough production “secrets” in the Talking Shop Issue for every reader to glean at least one tip. There are also good production reminders on the pages that follow – particularly one Kube Pak’s Hank Bukowski offers in his page 18 essay, “Remember The Basics.”

Whether you’re a current horticulture student or a 50-year veteran grower, diagnosing production issues usually comes down to simple inputs like soil, water, fertilizer and temperature. So the next time a crop fails and you can’t figure out what went wrong, think back on the early years of your career and greenhouse growing at its simplest. The answer may a Greenhouse 101 lesson away.

If the answers aren’t in your memory bank of college courses, though, the next best place to find them is online at FreshAirForum.com – our online “Talking Shop.” Many of you already are Fresh Air Forum members and active in discussions, posing broad questions like which pots you prefer – plastic or other materials – and specific ones like which pumps do you recommend for pond irrigation.

Perhaps the number one benefit of using Fresh Air Forum is the speed at which growers get their answers. If you stumble onto a production issue in the morning and post your question shortly thereafter, another grower is likely to offer a solution by the afternoon. The forum truly is a “Talking Shop” with the best of them.

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