Attending the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo: Reason 3 – Production strategies and plant selection

Get the production and plant selection answers your greenhouse business needs by attending the 2014 Greenhouse Expo.

In previous articles, greenhouse growers and retailers were encouraged to attend the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo that takes place Dec. 9-11, 2014 at the Devos Place Conference Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan in order to learn about pest management and marketing and retail design strategies. But, there are additional reasons to attend the Greenhouse Expo. For instance, has your greenhouse business considered growing finished vegetables? Are you looking to try some new plant varieties and wondered how they performed in trials? Would you like to improve plant combinations in your hanging basket program? Are you interested in how LEDs might be used in your greenhouse lighting program? If so, then this year’s Greenhouse Expo has the answers for you.

On Wednesday morning, Dec. 10, Natalie Bumgarner from the University of Tennessee will give a talk on “Probing Greenhouse Vegetables - An Overview of Production Systems, Schedules and Approaches”. Her session is intended for those currently investigating or in the early stages of greenhouse vegetable production and she will cover key aspects of vegetable production in greenhouses including crop choices, timing, growing systems and considerations for those who may be interested in diversifying their current operation. In addition, speakers from the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky will talk on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 9, about trends in greenhouse vegetable crops, greenhouse production systems, and fertilization of greenhouse vegetables.

Just after Bumgarner’s talk, consider attending a grower panel presentation on “The Pros and Cons of Producing Greenhouse Vegetables” Wednesday morning. This panel will consist of greenhouse ornamental plant growers who are exploring producing food crops like vegetables. The discussions will include marketing, production concerns, food safety, and risks and rewards of growing edibles as alternative greenhouse crops.

If you are looking to try some new plant varieties and wondered how they performed in trials, then attend the “Best-performing Plants from the 2014 Michigan Garden Plant Tour” presentation Tuesday morning. This session will be a fast-paced summary of the best new plant varieties from this year’s Michigan Garden Plant Tour trial sites that were hosted by six leading young plant producers and the Michigan State University Horticultural Demonstration Gardens. Annuals, perennials and woody ornamentals will be highlighted.

If you would like to improve your mixed container hanging basket program, then listen to growers talk about their experiences in “Planning and Growing Mixed Hanging Baskets - A Grower Panel” Tuesday afternoon. The panel will discuss which crops they combine considering plant habit, vigor and culture compatibility. They will also discuss what factors they consider including colors and habits, pH and PGR requirements, and more.

Have you heard that you should try LEDs in your greenhouse lighting program? Attend Michigan State University Extension specialist Erik Runkle and Purdue University Roberto Lopez’s talk on “Using LEDs in Young Plant Production” to see if LEDs may be right for you. This talk will be held Wednesday afternoon and will cover the advantages and challenges of using LEDs in young plant production. They will also present research-based information on how the LED spectrum can be used to elicit desirable growth responses.

If production and plant selection are not your cup of tea, then consider attending the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo this December for other reasons, including learning about pest management strategies or marketing and business management strategies. Or consider attending because of the large trade show (over 400 exhibitors in a 4-acre exhibit hall) and a bus tour of southwest Michigan greenhouses. For more information, including cost, lodging and how to register, visit the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo website. Early registration ends on Nov. 20.

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