TECH ON DEMAND brought to you by GrowerTalks
Preventing & Managing Disease on Tropical Plants

Preventing & Managing Disease on Tropical Plants

September 15, 2022

Host Bill Calkins is joined by Andrew Britten, a greenhouse and nursery technical expert with a wide range of experience from large-scale production and propagation to technical services and even sales of foliage and tropical plants. He’s been a head grower, young plants manager and production manager at some of the largest and most well-respected operations in North America. Interestingly, Andrew was GrowerTalks’ Young Grower Award winner back in 2005.

Andrew joins the podcast again to discuss the most common diseases you might encounter when finishing tropical and foliage crops across North America. He goes one by one through more than 10 diseases, sharing causes, how to identify and finally, control strategies.

The goal with this podcast is to help you produce your best crops ever and send clean, healthy tropicals and foliage to market. If you haven’t listened to the previous podcast covering insect identification and control on tropicals, jump back in the archives and check it out.

Throughout the podcast, Andrew and Bill reference photos and slides, which you can find at: https://www.slideshare.net/bcalkins/tech-on-demand-preventing-and-managing-disease-on-tropical-plants

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Controlling Insects on Tropical Plants with Andrew Britten

Controlling Insects on Tropical Plants with Andrew Britten

August 29, 2022

Host Bill Calkins is joined by Andrew Britten, a greenhouse and nursery technical expert with a wide range of experience from large-scale production and propagation to technical services and even sales of foliage and tropical plants. He’s been a head grower, young plants manager and production manager at some of the largest and most well-respected operations in North America. Interestingly, Andrew was GrowerTalks’ Young Grower Award winner back in 2005.

Andrew joins the podcast to focus on insects, because they’re something a lot of growers struggle with when they finish tropical and foliage crops across North America. He begins with an overview of the most common pests dealt with in tropical plant production and what kinds of damage to look for when identifying them. These “usual suspects” include aphids, spider mites, mealybug, whitefly and thrips. Then, he turns his attention to managing and controlling these pests, talking about both conventional chemical and biological controls.

Throughout the podcast, Andrew and Bill reference photos and slides, which you can find at: https://www.slideshare.net/bcalkins/tech-on-demand-controlling-insect-pests-on-tropical-plants

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Ball Seed Customer Day: Production & Planning for 2023

Ball Seed Customer Day: Production & Planning for 2023

August 18, 2022

Ball Seed National Sales Director, Jim Kennedy and RCOP, Inc. owner, Mindy Clesen join host Bill Calkins to look ahead and provide the 2022 Ball Seed Customer Day audience with ideas and insights to help greenhouse professionals make the best decisions for the year ahead.

 

Mindy and Jim share some of their experiences from 2021 and 2022 and how they will apply these to 2023 planning. Then, they discuss recent cost pressures and supply challenges explaining how these factors impact budgeting. Labor is also a topic addressed, with ideas for mitigating what is an extremely relevant difficulty. Finally, they share thoughts on why our industry is more (or less) prepared for the uncertainty facing the North American economy in the short term.

 

Visit BallSeed.com for a wide range of resources and information to help your business in 2023!

 

Make plans to attend Ball Seed Customer Days in 2023. Visit BallCustomerDay.com for event information.

Greenhouse & Nursery Diseases: Focus on Summer with Dr. Ann Chase & Dr. Aaron Palmateer

Greenhouse & Nursery Diseases: Focus on Summer with Dr. Ann Chase & Dr. Aaron Palmateer

June 28, 2022

In this episode of Tech On Demand brought to you by GrowerTalks, host Bill Calkins is joined for the second time by Dr. Ann Chase, owner of Chase Agricultural Consulting, and Dr. Aaron Palmateer, technical development lead for the ornamental business at SePRO. Both are expert-level plant disease gurus with decades of combined work in the field.

Last time we talked with Ann and Aaron, the discussion centered on what to expect—from a disease perspective—in spring production. If you didn’t listen to that one, jump back in the archives and check out Episode 33. This time, we’re moving on to summer, but first, the guests reflect back on spring for a bit before jumping right into warm-season diseases like Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia, soft rots like Erwinia, Southern Blight, Xanthomonas and plenty more. They discuss what they’ve seen in greenhouses and nurseries already this summer and what they expect to see soon—more than 25 diseases they’ve seen first-hand. One of the most interesting parts of this cast is a rundown of common diseases and the temperature ranges that bring them on. The episode continues with thoughts on why producing crops (like vinca, poinsettias and fall pansies) out-of-season often requires the most vigilance and hardest work by production teams before concluding with an in-depth look at the most cutting-edge control strategies for summer diseases.

 

Resources:

Dr. Ann Chase: archase@chaseresearch.net

Dr. Aaron Palmateer: aaronp@sepro.com

Chase Horticultural Research: www.chaseagri.com

SePRO: https://www.sepro.com/Hort

 

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Control Your Inputs: Reduce Risk Through Growing Mix Selection

Control Your Inputs: Reduce Risk Through Growing Mix Selection

June 2, 2022

In this episode of Tech On Demand brought to you by GrowerTalks, host Bill Calkins is joined by two dynamic guests for a discussion that’s equal parts informational and instructional with a healthy dose of humor added to the mix. In relation to current supply chain challenges that are predicted to continue for some time, the importance of versatility and flexibility is as important now as ever and trialing to develop modern plans and backup plans plays a huge role in successful crop production. With growing media (especially peat) at the foundation of professional greenhouse production, understanding how you can take more control of your inputs and continue to create optimum quality plants is a critical component to your overall plan.

We’re lucky to have two experienced and creative guests join us this episode to share their thoughts, knowledge and advice to explore potential solutions for increasing crop quality, as well as efficiency. Pierre-Marc de Champlain and John Santoro from Berger are here to explain ways to ease supply chain burdens using creative growing mix selection and incorporating different media components in the correct way.

The discussion begins with the current supply chain, good and bad, and then moves on to why peat is not only the backbone of soil mix components but also a very viable option now and looking to the future. Get ready to hear all about why responsible bog management is at the forefront of Berger’s approach and why this is good for the entire industry. Pierre-Marc and John share their thoughts on why versatility is critical now more than ever and ways to fine tune your production by looking closely at your media mix. The episode wraps up with an explanation of the importance of trialing and creating a plan and backup plan related to growing media. Both of the guests have a lot of experience and unique takes on greenhouse production and I know you’ll find this episode engaging, informational and fun.

You’ll want to listen all the way to the end of this episode, because we cover a lot of topics that build to a comprehensive growing media strategy.

 

Resources:

Learn more about Berger: https://www.berger.ca/

Connect with Berger Experts: https://www.berger.ca/en/grower-resources/grower-advisors/

Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association: https://peatmoss.com/

 

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Dynamics of Growing Media (Part 3): Successful Analysis & Interpretation

Dynamics of Growing Media (Part 3): Successful Analysis & Interpretation

May 5, 2022

In this episode of Tech On Demand brought to you by GrowerTalks, host Bill Calkins is joined by Troy Buechel, a Horticulture Specialist with Premier Tech, for the final episode in a three-part series discussing the technical side of growing media. Now that we’ve worked our way through testing and sampling, it’s on to analysis. Looking at returned data from tests conducted on growing media, water and plant tissue can seem overwhelming but Troy is going to walk you through it.

This episode begins with a look into the most important numbers to consider when you see results from a test. From pH to EC and macronutrients to micronutrients, a lot can be gleaned when you understand what’s most critical. Knowing deficiencies can quickly lead to reversing the issues at hand and bringing your crop back to its potential.

Next, Troy discusses contaminants that can lead to plant stress, such as sodium chloride, and what this can mean to a crop. Clear results from testing are important before starting to correct problems. Next, the discussion turns to the ranges you want to see related to pH, EC, macronutrients and micronutrients. The conversation gets pretty in-depth and technical so feel free to pause the podcast, make notes and then hit play again.

Another topic of conversation in this episode is types of tests and ways they are conducted. Some can be done easily, in house, while others require the expertise of a lab. Troy helps make sense of this, so you choose the best path. This episode (and series) ends with some real-world stories and situations Troy has encountered over the years. As you listen, you might start nodding because as we all know, no grower or greenhouse is immune to common problems, or even the weirdest ones.

You’ll want to listen all the way to the end of this episode, because the information builds throughout! Special thanks to Troy and the folks at Premier-Tech (the company behind Pro-Mix Growing Media) for lending much-needed expertise to such an important topic.

 

Premier Tech Resources:

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To read:

To connect: 

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Dynamics of Growing Media (Part 2): Effective Sampling

Dynamics of Growing Media (Part 2): Effective Sampling

April 20, 2022

In this episode of Tech On Demand brought to you by GrowerTalks, host Bill Calkins is joined by Troy Buechel, a Horticulture Specialist with Premier Tech, for the second in a three-part series discussing the technical side of growing media. Sampling is perhaps the most critical part of diagnostics and getting to the root of problems in your greenhouse. “Junk in, junk out,” as they say. An effective sample allows you or an independent lab to figure out the cause of a problem, while a poor sample isn’t worth much. It’s really all about consistency.

Troy and Bill start by going over what makes a consistent sample—cultivar, size, planting date, greenhouse block, etc. Sampling random plants from different locations and conditions creates a very muddy picture and stands in the way of an accurate analysis. But following some simple protocols can make the picture much clearer and the solution similarly straightforward. Next, they run through a detailed sampling process.

Troy then covers some dos and don’ts when it comes to sampling, as well as sharing some stories from the field. Sending a whole plant can lead to problems, as can sending wet samples. The last thing you want a lab to receive is a bag of mush. Troy talks you through all the steps to take. They wrap up with a conversation about protocols to follow to ensure a quick, useful analysis.

You’ll want to listen all the way to the end of this episode, because the information builds throughout! Stay tuned for episode three, coming soon, where Troy and Bill tackle successful analysis and interpretation, because testing and sampling are done with a goal in mind. The goal is data to use in decision making. If you missed the first part in our series, The Importance of Testing, jump back in the archives and check it out.

 

Premier Tech Resources:

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Dynamics of Growing Media (Part 1): The Importance of Testing

Dynamics of Growing Media (Part 1): The Importance of Testing

April 7, 2022

In this episode of Tech On Demand brought to you by GrowerTalks, host Bill Calkins is joined by Troy Buechel, a Horticulture Specialist with Premier Tech, for the first in a three-part series discussing the technical side of growing media. Assumptions and “trial and error” often lead to greater production problems, as well as wasted time money. Learn why proper testing of media, water and plant tissue is always the best bet, because without it, there’s no starting point in your mission to diagnose and correct issues.

Troy and Bill start by framing up the discussion by explain exactly why testing is important and should be done regularly, versus when a problem arises. Then, Troy begins the conversation by outlining the goals of testing—to establish trend lines related to pH, EC and nutrients to help paint a complete production picture. He details the parameters that should be tested, and when. Some can be tested twice a year (before spring and fall/winter production), while others need to be checked as often as weekly.

 

They spend a lot of time discussing testing tools, including the best types of pH and EC meters, because using bad tools that aren’t calibrated correctly is basically a waste of time. Before closing, Troy shares some real-world testing stories to highlight why these activities are so critical. Poor testing or no testing can lead to devastating results.

 

You’ll want to listen all the way to the end of this episode, because the information builds throughout! Stay tuned for episodes two and three, coming soon, where Troy and Bill tackle proper sampling and how to use returned results to make proper changes and get on a path to success.     

 

Premier Tech Resources

Check out Premier Tech’s Training Center, filled with videos and technical documents: https://www.pthorticulture.com/en/training-center/

 

Learn more about Premier Tech and PRO-MIX and their range of horticulture industry-leading media products: https://www.pthorticulture.com/en/

 

Continue the conversation by reaching out to the Premier Tech Grower Services Team: https://www.pthorticulture.com/en/grower-services/

 

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To Connect: 

 

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Talking Tech with Danziger’s Mike Fernandez: NGI Nuances, URC Priorities & Low-Input Baskets

Talking Tech with Danziger’s Mike Fernandez: NGI Nuances, URC Priorities & Low-Input Baskets

March 2, 2022

In this episode of Tech On Demand brought to you by GrowerTalks, host Bill Calkins is joined by Mike Fernandez, Danziger’s market manager for North America, a long-time plant guru and trusted source of knowledge to greenhouse professionals around the world. The three topics on the plate are production specifics for New Guinea and hybrid impatiens, prioritizing sticking plans for unrooted cuttings, while remaining flexible and the ins and outs of low-input planters and baskets.

Mike and Bill start of the episode with a quick discussion of the current market, including supply chain challenges impacting young plants, chemicals, media and fertilizer. Mike offers suggestions for the current state and advice moving forward. Next, they address environmental nuances to help produce New Guinea and hybrid impatiens, focusing on time and temperature. After that, Mike takes a hard look at why the best plan for creating protocols and schedules for URC sticking might just be to stay flexible and make informed decisions on the fly. He also shares tips for minimizing the stress this type of planning can cause. Finally, they discuss Mike’s trial results with low-input (two or three cuttings) production of baskets and patio pots. The goal with such programs, like Durabella from Danziger, is to help you produce high-quality, quick-turn 12-inch programs. The benefits of such programs extend from your bottom line through retail and onto the end consumer. It’s truly a triple win.

You’ll want to listen all the way to the end of this episode, because Mike has a lot of important information to share!    

 

Resources:

Danziger Variety & Production Information: https://www.danzigeronline.com

Danziger Digital Catalogs: https://www.danzigeronline.com/digital-catalog/

Durabella Combinations: https://files.danzigeronline.com/smart-view/annuals_21-22_na/141/

 

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Be Vigilant: Greenhouse Diseases in 2022 with Dr. Ann Chase & Dr. Aaron Palmateer

Be Vigilant: Greenhouse Diseases in 2022 with Dr. Ann Chase & Dr. Aaron Palmateer

February 16, 2022

In this episode of Tech On Demand brought to you by GrowerTalks, host Bill Calkins is joined by Dr. Ann Chase, owner of Chase Agricultural Consulting, and Dr. Aaron Palmateer, technical development lead for the ornamental business at SePRO. Both are expert-level plant disease gurus with decades of combined work in the field. The episode kicks off with a discussion about the top diseases to watch for in the coming year, including a deep dive into Botrytis and downy mildew. The guests discuss why innovation in disease control products is driving research and why this benefits growers around the world. Ann and Aaron then dive into bacterial diseases such as pectobacteria and agrobacteria and why diseases with latent or asymptomatic expression can be a particular nightmare. They also touch on less-devastating diseases and how to control them.

Next, Ann and Aaron tackle viruses, including TSWV, INSV and tospoviruses. It’s incredibly challenging to diagnose viruses, because they show such a range of symptoms, so our guests spend plenty of time discussing the importance of early recognition. The podcast wraps up with solutions, and a rundown of current products on the market. New premixes, new FRAC codes, biopesticides and biofungicides and broad-spectrum products are all on the table these days. Ann and Aaron are leading the way in research to help you understand and apply these new products.

 

Resources:

Dr. Ann Chase: archase@chaseresearch.net

Dr. Aaron Palmateer: aaronp@sepro.com

 

Chase Horticultural Research: www.chaseagri.com

SePRO: https://www.sepro.com/Hort

 

 

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