Sun Gro’er Blog

Review of Major Growing Media Components

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By Dan Jacques and Ron Walden, Sun Gro Horticulture –

The major role of a growing mix is to support the plant, while holding water and nutrients for the plant to use during growth. There are five main components commonly used in making growing media: peat moss, bark, coir, perlite and vermiculite. This article describes the components and outlines desired properties of mixes for various uses in greenhouse production.

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"Dirt and Fert" for Basket Production

Potted plants in Greenhouse
Plants placed above may not receive as much attention as those below. Using CRFs may help avoid nutritional issues.

Interesting how some things don‘t change; hanging baskets are still big business! When you think about it, hanging basket culture is in a league of its own and deserves special
attention. The entire objective of growing a hanging basket crop is different than that of a pack or small pot. The objective is usually to grow big, full, overflowing plants that typically remain in the container. While the objectives for packs and small pots is to grow colorful, compact plants that are proportioned to the pot. When it comes to soilless media for hanging baskets, the initial challenges are to avoid keeping it too wet, depending on the production program employed. Thereafter, when plants are full and sized up, the major challenges are always moisture supply and weight.
–Rick Vetanovetz, Dan Jacques, Mark Thomas and Ron Walden
Read More in The Sun Gro’er Issue 7/1 (2012)
Leer más en The Sun Gro’er Issue 7/1 (2012) Spanish/Español

Pine Tree Substrate — A Good Idea?

The use of pine trees (white wood, WoodGro®, PTS) or ground up pine tree parts (WTS) in soilless growing media has received some attention in the industry in the last five years, not because of the pine bark but because of the wood and other parts of the tree. Already, there have been two ways, or methods, of harnessing pine trees as a growing medium ingredient, each with differing names.
–Ron Walden et al.
Read More in The Sun Gro’er Issue 6/2 (2011)
Leer más en The Sun Gro’er Issue 6/2 (2011) Spanish/Español

Update on Sun Gro Growing Media

Sun Gro Horticulture is the largest provider of professional greenhouse mixes in North America. We offer a wide range of mixes covering all the needs of the greenhouse industry, from seed/cutting propagation to general production. All of our standard mixes contain a liming agent to adjust medium pH, a lean nutrient starter charge and a proprietary wetting agent, which helps avoid major wet-out issues. In addition to our standard media offerings, Sun Gro has a few new formulations for your consideration.
–Dan Jacques, Ron Walden
Read More in The Sun Gro’er Issue 5/2 (2010)
Leer más en The Sun Gro’er Issue 5/2 (2010) Spanish/Español

Some Like it Hot…and Some Don’t

Here’s a question that comes up often when discussing growing media that contains composted materials, such as pine bark or peanut hulls. If these composts are so biologically active, what assurance does a grower have that some of that biological activity isn’t plant pathogenic? Growers may remember that in times past mixes containing mineral soil were routinely steam-sterilized to eliminate disease organisms, and the ‘rule of thumb’ was that a moist 160 degrees F for 30 minutes would do the job. So it would appear that we could answer this question if we knew whether compost piles routinely develop such temerature conditions. Truth is, as you may already suspect, it’s actually a little more complicated than that. —Ron Walden
Read More in The Sun Gro’er Issue 3/1 (2005)

Vegetative Propagation Basics

Read More in The Sun Gro’er Issue 2/1 (2004)
With spring just around the corner and the recent introduction of the Sunshine Ellepot Propagation System, it seems like a good time to review the basic cultural requirements for successful vegetative propagation. The use of unrooted cuttings to produce annuals and herbaceous perennials is on the increase, partly because desirable species and cultivars from offshore production facilities can be delivered faster and for lower cost than ever before. And while the phrase ‘offshore production’ may touch off heated debate among protectionists and free-trade advocates, in this case cuttings that originate in the Southern Hemisphere while we shiver up here up North may actually
have a quality advantage. And that leads us to our first consideration, what constitutes quality in an unrooted cutting?
Continue reading “Vegetative Propagation Basics”

Calibrating Fertilizer Injectors

Injecting FertilizerRead More in The Sun Gro’er Issue 1/1 (2003)

So you’ve just used that brand new conductivity meter to measure the EC of your customer’s fertigation solution, and it doesn’t match the value that corresponds to the ppm N that the grower thinks they’ve been applying forever. What to do now? Since you’re already sure that the EC meter is properly calibrated, you better check that fertilizer injector! Fortunately, it’s not that hard to do.

Continue reading “Calibrating Fertilizer Injectors”

Sun Gro's Technical Specialists

Read More in The Sun Gro’er Issue 1/1 (2003)
Sun Gro has seven main Technical Specialists, three in the West and two each in the Central and East regions. Their duties include Quality Control (QC) work with specific plants, along with providing technical support for specific sections of their region. Technical support includes work with complaint handling, training and custom blends. These are also the Sun Gro staffers who will be providing most of the content for the Sun Gro’er Newsletter. Here is some basic information that will allow readers to get to know them a little better: Continue reading “Sun Gro's Technical Specialists”