General

Photoperiod Lighting to Create Long Days

Photoperiodic lighting is used to create long days for flower induction of long-day (LD) plants or to delay the flowering of short-day plants. Generally, long-day plants will flower when the daylength is longer than 14-16 hours (night length of less than 10 hours). Therefore, long-day lighting should be used from around Sept. 1 to April 15. Note that the critical daylength is likely to be different for each species.

Cool Greenhouses and Vegetable Transplants

Many growers are considering whether they should lower their greenhouse thermostats this spring to reduce fuel costs.  Today, temperatures in Massachusetts range from 15°F to 27°F across the state.  No doubt about it, we’ve had a cold winter. Temperature affects many aspects of production and establishing the best conditions for your greenhouse transplants will ensure a good start to the season. Here are some tips:

Tips for Producing Transplants from Seeds

Begin by using fresh seeds. 

If using leftover seeds from the previous year, test for germination first.  Place a specific number of seeds, such as 10, 50 or 100 on a moistened paper towel. Fold the moistened paper over the seeds and put it in a plastic bag in a warm place. Take the paper towel out and inspect the seeds twice a day, spraying with water as needed to maintain moisture around the seeds. After the usual number of days required to germinate that variety, count to see how many have germinated and calculate the percentage of germination.

Hardy mums/Two-spotted mites

Two-spotted Spider Mites have developed quickly on hardy mums. Look on the underside of the oldest leaves along the midveins, for the mites, their eggs and white empty eggshells. You may see faint stippling, or chlorotic growth that resembles a nitrogen deficiency. During severe outbreaks, webbing can be seen after watering the crop.

Ornamental Cabbage

Growers are shipping hardy mums and ornamental cabbage and the weather is unusually warm for this time of year. There have been several situations where the ornamental cabbage arrived at a retail garden center looking great only to have a scorch appear on the leaves a few days later.

Closed trucks on hot days may be stressing the ornamental cabbage, resulting in a scorch on the older/bottom leaves of the plants. Be sure the plants are watered adequately and vent the body of the truck if possible.

Paul Lopes

Sidewall insulation

One factor that influences heat loss from a greenhouse is the amount of glazed area. In a 30° wide hoophouse, the glazed area from the ground to bench height is about 15% of the total surface area. Insulating this area with an inch or two of polyurethane or polystyrene can reduce total heat loss over 10%. Use a closed cell insulation board and not beadboard as this absorbs moisture reducing its insulating value.

Resources for Retailers

May is the busiest time of year. It can be difficult to answer all of your customer's gardening questions, but providing this customer service, and distinguishing your garden center as a source of knowledgeable staff is important. Here are some resources that may help you to answer your customer's gardening questions.

In Connecticut University of Connecticut Home and Garden Education Center Toll free phone 1-877-486-6271 Web Address: www.ladybug.uconn.edu

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