Archive for July, 2008

Here are the pictures I promised.

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It is freakin’ HOT!

Most of the  mums greened back up over the weekend and are looking better.  Our biggest concern now is the extremely hot temperatures.  When it gets hot, the roots at the edge of the pots literally cook or burn.  When the roots burn, it makes the plants susceptible to diseases.  Now our challenge is to make sure all the mums have enough water while not drowning them and causing more root damage.  We applied a fungicide drench about 2 weeks ago that should still be protecting the plants.  Some of the varieties were severely stunted by the iron deficiency which also affected the roots.  When the extreme temperatures hit last week the most severely stunted plants did not have a chance and cooked.

All over the fields we are seeing inconsistencies in how the plants were affected by the iron deficiency.  Some spots and varieties were less affected than others while other spots and varieties were a complete loss.  In addition to that we are seeing inconsistencies among the same variety in different sizes.  For example, in #6 Beth was the first variety to yellow then last week it started to green up before the iron was applied, but in #8 it looks like more than half of the Beth will be lost.

For now we will watch and water and check the EC to make sure we still have good nitrogen levels.  I’ll get some pictures for you later in the week.

Stay cool.

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A quick update on the mums – we have finished the iron drenches on the mums and should see an improvement by Monday. Some of the ones we drenched last week have greened up nicely.

Poinsettias look great. We will begin running the dirt for them next week.

Before we run the poinsettia dirt, we will run the dirt for our first plantings of fall hanging baskets, deco pots and our J6 and #4 fall annuals (dianthus, petunias, pansies, snaps and violas).

We still have greenhouse plastic to replace so we will continue to work on that.

Temperatures are supposed to be over 100 degress the first part of next week. I hope the forecast is wrong.

Stay cool.

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"So what’s the big deal?" you ask. Let me tell you.

There has been a lot of press about Cora Vinca in the greenhouse trade magazines, at pack trials, on the internet and elsewhere. Now we are in the middle of summer and soon we’ll be seeing a lot of information about how Cora Vinca performs in flower beds and gardens. Based on what I’ve seen so far this summer, I predict that Cora will be one of the top performers in the field trials.

Cora Vinca is new series of F1 hybrid Vinca (also known as periwinkles) bred by Goldsmith Seeds. The big, new, innovative, extraordinary, etc. thing about the Cora series is its resistance to Aerial Phytophthora. Phytophthora is a fungus that affects bedding plants and usually starts with a wilted stem that progresses to a wilted plant that dies with in 1-2 weeks of the first wilted stem. Phytophthora flourishes in cool (less that 75 degrees), wet conditions. Frequent, unnecessary overhead irrigation and heavy fertilization contribute to the disease. If you’ve had vinca die it was probably due to the phytophthora fungus.

Did you catch that landscapers? That means that Cora Vinca is less likely to die on you than other varieties of vinca. Cora loves the heat (like all vinca do) and has a more uniform habit that is less prone to stretching or looking leggy. It looks great all season and requires little or no maintenance.

Here are some picture of some Cora Vinca that I took today. The short trailing vinca in the front is Mediterranean Vinca.

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Our cuttings are looking good. Our highs have been around 100 degrees for the last four days so keeping them from getting too hot has been a challenge. Our automatic watering booms spray the cutting periodically to keep them hydrated and cool. I checked a few cuttings for roots but didn’t find any, but I only looked at 4 cuttings. Not a good representation of the 121,000 cuttings we stuck. Also the cuttings I chose to look at looked to be struggling a little probably because they did not have any roots. We’ve also been having periodic problems with the automation on the booms. Every so ofter one of them will stop working and have to be reset. We haven’t been able to figure out why so we have to watch the booms closely to make sure they keep working. Brown outs could be the cause. We have a lot of them around here especially in the summer when it gets hot and all the AC’s in the electrical grid kick on at the same time.

In addition to the poinsettias and the mums, we are working on replacing the plastic that was damaged in the hail storms in the spring. Today some of the guys are replacing the gutters in one house while they have the plastic. The rest of the crew is either working on stripping plastic on other houses to get ready to cover, drenching the mums with the iron or cleaning out houses and getting them ready to disinfect in preparation of the poinsettias.

In the office, our new sales person, Annette, is calling on last years poinsettia customers and getting their poinsettia orders for this year. Ron is out traveling in Oklahoma. Leigh Ann is in Nicaragua. Clay is working on product costing. Charley is alternating between the recliner and checking on the mums and crews. Beck is updating our MSDS information. Golden is reviewing our emergency plan and working on payroll, and I’m updating the blog, making collection calls, analyzing our cash flow, checking on the crews progress and working on next spring’s items.

Not too bad for one day.

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