US: Optimizing the greenhouse environment for cut flowers

Steve and Gretel Adams operate Sunny Meadows Flower Farm in Columbus, Ohio. Their dahlia tuber sales go live in late November. In this article, they describe their findings about their greenhouse soil. 

"We grow cut flowers year-round and harvest them from March to December. We have found limited information in the floriculture world when it comes to growing in ground beds under plastic. We’ve visited many growers’ greenhouses with concrete beds poured to shape the 14-inch growing beds or old lumber benches waist high to save your back during harvest and planting".

In the past, growing in raised beds or on benches was commonplace, whereas now many growers grow in black bulb crates. Greenhouse beds that are in the soil (ground beds) and any bare ground in the walkways release a lot of unwanted moisture during the evening when the houses are closed up.

"We’ve started to put straw down in our walkways when we prep them during the fall. We dig out our walkways (as our version of raised beds) as much as we can to help the crops to stay as high and dry during the winter’s cold, wet months. After we plant the beds, we apply about two inches of straw to the walkways. We only dig our beds during winter growing season. We walk the pathways all year and re-dig them next season, and we then put all that organic matter into our beds". 

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