Just attended a fantastic conference on greenhouse lighting! Pictured is the new set of greenhouses at Colorado State University, where the conference was held. CSU’s Horticulture Center is fully outfitted with LED lighting in partnership with Philips Horticulture (http://www.usa.lighting.philips.com/products/horticulture.html). Speakers at the conference presented the latest in LED lighting technology for greenhouse and controlled environment purposes. We also learned about specific ways LED lighting can be utilized to solve specific problems, such as in tissue culture and plant propagation.
A few tidbits:
- LED lighting works. The way it works on different species is not consistent however.
- Using LED as the sole source of illumination for crop production also works.
- Plants started as tissue culture showed greater rooting under LED lights than those grown in the greenhouse.
- LED lights reduce crop production time in many cases.
- Stems and petioles tend to be shorter under high blue light.
- For plant height control, seedlings grown under LED lights tend to be more compact and in some cases, may be substituted for applications of plant growth regulators.
- Utilization of LED lighting influences plant water relations in ways we are just now starting to understand.
- Responses to LED lights varies with plant species.
Stay tuned for more.
This morning’s harvest of cut sunflowers. Mostly ‘Dafna’ and ‘Sunbright Supreme’ with one ‘ProCut Bicolor’ in back. Except for the one ‘ProCut’, they were grown in #1 containers in the greenhouse. The ‘ProCut’ was the first one cut this summer from the high tunnels-from the south side of the east-west-oriented tunnel.
Hummingbirds have been thick this summer after last year’s very few sightings! This morning one was happily slurping nectar from the Salvia ‘Summer Jewel White’.
Pi Alpha Xi, the national honorary horticulture society for deserving students, is currently accepting submissions for our annual photo contest! Membership is not required and submission information can be found here. We’re also on Facebook!
In Greenhouse Crop Production class the other day we started a small vase life study. We chose two different floral preservatives as two treatments with the third being municipal tap water. We’ll check results next Monday April 27. Flowers included mums, roses, alstroemeria, stock, and miscellaneous others.
This year has been the oddest many of us can remember! Cold snap June 8, rainy and cool most of June, warmed up a bit in July, rainy and cool now in early August. It would be great if the weather would make up its mind.
The All America Selections Display garden is definitely telling us which are the star performers in this high and dry climate. Those showing off are the ‘Summer Jewel’ salvia varieties Red and Pink, ‘Glamour Red’ kale (as usual), and Osteospermum ‘Akila Daisy White’ (loves sunny cool weather). Most of the other annuals in the garden have behaved quite badly. Zinnias, marigolds, vinca, ornamental peppers, and angelonia have been all but stationary, not growing much at all and certainly not flowering. (Of course the gangs of rabbits in the neighborhood don’t help matters.) Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ is holding its own but the large leaves got beaten up last week with heavy rain. A few flower buds are finally showing up though.
As far as perennials go, two of our favorites, Gaillardia ‘Mesa Yellow’ and ‘Arizona Apricot’ are blooming away, but it is their second season in this spot. First year perennials blooming are the Penstemon ‘Arabesque’ and Gaura ‘Sparkle White’. Neither of the Echinacea (‘Powwow Wild Berry’ and ‘Cheyenne Spirit’) is faring well this season.
Also lost were 60 tomato plants of six different varieties, being grown for comparison with Nebraska-grown fruit.
Plants are about ready to move into their summer homes. Inventory this morning shows 46 different All-America Selections varieties to be tried in Wyoming:
- Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’
- Snapdragon ‘Twinny Peach’
- Marigold ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’
- Viola ‘Shangri-La Marina’ and ‘Endurio Sky Blue Martien’
- Ornamental pepper ‘Black Olive’
- Ornamental chile pepper ‘NuMex Easter’
- Salvia ‘Summer Jewel Pink’ and ‘Summer Jewel Red’
- Zinnia ‘Double Zahara Cherry’, ‘Double Zahara Fire’, and ‘Zahara Starlight Rose’
- Geranium ‘Pinto Premium White to Rose’
- Ornamental kale ‘Glamour Red’
- Osteospermum ‘Akila Daisy White’
- New Guinea impatiens ‘Florific Sweet Orange’
- Vinca ‘Jams ‘N Jellies Blackberry’
- Petunia ‘African Sunset’
- Gaillardia ‘Mesa Yellow’
- Gaillardia ‘Arizona Apricot’
- Echinacea ‘Powwow Wild Berry’
- Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’
- Gaura ‘Sparkle White’
- Penstemon ‘Arabesque’
- Pepper ‘Cajun Belle’, ‘Cayennetta’, ‘Orange Blaze’, and ‘Mama Mia Giallo’
- Tomato ‘Jasper’, ‘Lizzano’, ‘Terenzo’, ‘Fantastico’, and ‘Chef’s Choice Orange’
- Melon ‘Melemon’
- Pumpkin ‘Hijinks’
- Watermelon ‘Faerie’, ‘Shiny Boy’, and ‘Harvest Moon’
- Radish ‘Rivoli’
- Cucumber ‘Pick A Bushel’
- Bean ‘Mascotte’
We’re trying something different this year by moving the vegetables over to beds at the University of Wyoming
Laramie Research and Extension Center. We figured vegetable plants didn’t really need to be at the front door to Old Main on campus. The vegetables will still be available for viewing by the public and will be highlighted at the R&E Center Field Day Thursday August 28.
We’re nearing the end of the growing season here at 7200 feet. There have been some disappointments in the AAS garden this year, but there have also been some great successes. The canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ is finally in bloom (albeit on plants topping out at about 12 inches tall) and the zinnias, salvia, kale, and tomatoes have rallied beautifully!
Our next (and last) plant walk and talk is scheduled for Wednesday, September 4 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Join us!
Several of the AAS Display Garden plants did not recover from the June 30 hailstorm here in Laramie. These plants were:
- Watermelon ‘Shiny Boy’ (one left)
- Squash ‘Honey Bear’ (one left)
- Peppers ‘Orange Blaze’ (four left), ‘Cayennetta’ (six left), and ‘Cajun Bell’ (one left)
- Melons ‘Melemon’ (zero left) and ‘Lambkin’ (one left).
Some never did well from the beginning:
- Zinnia ‘Double Zahara Fire’ and ‘Double Zahara Cherry’
- Watermelon ‘Faerie’
- Viola ‘Shangri-La Marina’ (has not flowered), ‘Rain Blue and Purple’ (two flowers open), and ‘Endurio Sky Blue Martien’ (has not flowered)
- Vinca ‘Jams ‘N Jellies Blackberry’ (no flowers)
- Snapdragon ‘Twinny Peach’ (no flowers)
- Ornamental Pepper ‘Black Olive’ (barely any foliage and no flowers – so dark they’re hard to see)
- Marigold ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’ (one flower open)
- Geranium ‘Pinto Premium White to Rose’ (two flowers open)
- Eggplant ‘Gretel’ (produced like crazy in 2012 but no flowers this year)
- Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ (one is about to open)
There are some that are clearly stars though:
- Zinnia ‘Zahara Starlight Rose’, ‘Profusion Double Hot Cherry’, and ‘Profusion Double Deep Salmon – excellent and have bloomed all summer long
- Tomatoes ‘Terenzo’, ‘Lizzano’, and ‘Jasper’ – rebounded from the hail and are now loaded with flowers and even a few fruits
- Salvias ‘Summer Jewel Pink’ and ‘Summer Jewel Red’ – have been blooming all summer long
- Ornamental Kale ‘Glamour Red’ – has come back from the hail with stunning red and green foliage
The perennials planted in June 2012 are all in full bloom – Gaillardias ‘Mesa Yellow’ and ‘Arizona Apricot’ as well as ‘Echinacea Powwow Wild Berry’. Even one of the ‘Arizona Apricots’ planted just two months ago is blooming! We were hoping the new Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ might flower this year but so far no luck.
There are still several weeks left in the growing season up here in the tundra and we’ll take additional pictures in early September. Here are a few photos to leave you with.