The past year has been a downright thriller in horticulture. The legalization of hemp in late 2018 has opened up a huge market for growers and suppliers while the legal cannabis market continues to evolve at a dizzying speed. And changes are taking place for the ornamental and fruit and vegetable market as growers look for ways to be more sustainable while responding to the needs and wants of the consumer.
Green industry professionals need information, and there was no lack of thoughtful commentary, how-tos and in some cases, not so reliable reporting.
As a person who is keeping their eye glued to the industry, I continually try t separate the wheat from the chaff, which isn’t easy when information is coming to us faster than aphids multiplying in a greenhouse.
So to cut to the chase, here are my pick of articles, including some of my own, I feel are particularly beneficial to professionals in the green industry as we roar into 2020!
Hemp, hemp, and more hemp!
Hemp may have been the biggest issue over the past 12 months. While conducting research on growing hemp I discovered that there is a shortage of quality hemp seed in the U.S., largely because it has been illegal for so long so there haven’t been the usual breeding programs taking place that would bring an adequate supply of seed into the market. In other words, buyer beware of the seed you’re getting.
A few months after I posted my article on the hemp breeding program at Cornell news was arriving that some of the hemp grown had too much THC in it. The takeaway is simply “buyer beware.” Make sure the seed you’re purchasing will produce hemp that is uniform, vigorous, and can pass inspection for THC content.
This past year we saw the launch of the first issue of Hemp Grower, a GIE Media publication. If it is anything like its sister publication, Cannabis Business Times, it should provide some great insights and knowledge into this burgeoning industry. One article, in particular, caught my eye and should be taken as a cautionary signal to hemp growers. The article, titled Newly Legal U.S. Hemp Industry Sees Early Supply Boom, Wholesale Price Crash speaks for itself!
If it’s not broke, break it!
Leslie Halleck, who always seems to be one step ahead of the game in the green industry encourages IGC owners, and business people, in general, to shake things up if you want your business to grow and stay relevant. “Pushing boundaries, bucking convention and making up new rules is my comfort zone, “ says Halleck in the December 2019 issue of Garden Center magazine. “Friction drives creativity and ingenuity, and unless you’re willing to turn up the heat, you may never see the change you wish to create.”
The rise of natural ventilation
Greenhouse growers are constantly on the lookout to maximize profits and reduce labor. Natural ventilation and automated controls will do both. One company, Advancing Alternatives is a leader in natural ventilation technology and can help configure your next greenhouse so it is as energy efficient as possible. They’re good folks to work with too!
What’s ahead for your business?
We can’t plan very well if we don’t know what’s ahead. I always look forward to Garden Media Group’s Garden Trends Report for the upcoming year. The report looks at current and future trends that will shape the green industry. The report is essential reading for everyone involved in the green industry.
Lighting (finally) simplified and an affordable light meter
I’ve written and read 100’s of articles on gardening and commercial production of about every plant imaginable and have yet to see anything written about lighting, other than manufacturers pushing their brand of a light fixture. It seems growers are all in when it comes to measuring pH, nutrients and monitoring temperature but not so much on measuring light. I have to admit my own ignorance on the subject, at least until Leslie Halleck came out with her book titled: Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers. Between this book and the Spot On PAR Quantum light meter mentioned below, I can now say with confidence I’m smarter than the average bear when it comes to lighting. So much so, I wrote an article on lighting that is a good primer for starting to learn more about light as well as a springboard to more information on the subject.
I was fortunate to be asked to be part of a launch of a product I truly believe in. The Spot On ® Quantum Par Light Meter, by Innoquest, Inc. is an affordable light meter for anyone serious about growing plants under lights, including LED lights and under cover, i.e, greenhouse growers and serious hobbyists. The user-friendly meter measures PAR and DLI, important measurements to ensure you are using quality lighting and also that the lights are hung at the proper distance. It is also a good tool to have to measure the light coming through a greenhouse covering, which can determine if it is time to upgrade your greenhouse covering.
What is your content marketing strategy for 2020?
And finally, I think it is fair to say more green industry businesses should be getting in on content marketing, a form of marketing where customers are attracted to a business for information and interesting content–as opposed to in-your-face advertisements and pop-ups that can get a little irritating. This article from HubSpot details why content marketing is the strategy of choice of businesses going into the New Year and beyond.
With that said, I hope you have a safe, happy, and prosperous New Year!
Need help with your content marketing? I’ve assisted several green industry companies with blog posts, articles, press releases, white papers and more. Contact me for a quote or visit Green Industry Marketing.