Seasonal Outdoor Growing
Maximize Space, More Turns, Increase Sales
Whether you are a large grower or small grower, the same challenge always seems to arise; 'What to do when your out of space?" Well the best question is, are you really out of space or just out of Greenhouse Space? Many growers plan production based on the amount of greenhouse space they may have under cover, however in many cases there may be some valuable outdoor growing space that can be taken advantage of but isn't. With a quick leveling of the grade, and some weed mat you may open your options to an increase in profits for this upcoming season.
We (Four Star), also being a finished product grower have utilized outdoor space for many seasons, allowing us to produce more plants and increase our profits which we otherwise would not have been able to do. The demand for spring product is certainly there, and increasing profits directly ties into how many times you can turn product within the space you have.
Turn Outdoor Growing Space Into Easy Cash
Nothing beats natural light and the cost savings (no fans, electricity, etc.) of growing outdoors on weed mat with a simple watering system. Every year we harden off product this way for early season spring, and even later season sales of Summer Celebrations and Fall Magic. We leave $1-million per acre greenhouses set empty to take advantage of this outdoor environment for the later season crops.
Start Early In The Spring with Frost Tolerant Crops
With many years of doing this ourselves, we've developed some important criteria which will aid you in being successful in growing material outdoors in early spring. A great way to free up more greenhouse space to re-plant with other more cold-sensitive varieties.
Criteria for the Moving Day - moderate temperatures (40's), overcast skies, and little to no wind (most important factor)
- Group 1 - Frost to 25°F (*see note below)
Argyranthemum - all varieties; Symphony & Soprano Osteospermum, Supertunia® /Surfinia® (except Mini Strawberry Pink Vein and Mini Rose Vein); Babylon Verbena
- Group 2 - Frost to 28°F (*see note below)
Solaire Yellow and Peter's Gold Carpet Bidens; Superbells® & Million Bells Calibrachoa; Flying Colors Diascia; Safari, Lagoon, and Innocence Nemesia; Intensia® Phlox
- Group 3 - Light Frost (*see note below)
Sundaze Bracteantha; Laguna Lobelia; Sunsatia Nemesia; Superbena® and Tukana® Verbena
* Grower Notes:
Plants should do well with the temperatures in the mid 20's and above (°F). Water as necessary; when plants are ready, we water thoroughly with a high feed rate. After heavy rains, we feed with 400-600 ppm of 20-10-20 and then allow the plants to dry out before the next watering. Supertunia® Mini Strawberry Pink Vein and Mini Rose are sensitive to wind and cold, they can be moved outside in mid-late May.
We recommend moving approximately 4 weeks before the last frost free date for your area. Due to fluctuations in weather conditions, the schedule may have to be adjusted. Please note your specific region requirements.
Keep Growing for Summer and Fall with Heat and Drought Tolerant Crops
Once danger of frost is past, you can safely move all your Proven Winners and PS crops to outdoor growing space. For late season, try Summer Celebrations and Fall Magic varieties. These Proven Winners programs are great for both consumers and growers; and the best part is they're perfectly suited for growing outdoors.
Four Star provides all of this information as a guide, and gives recommendations on our environment, growing environment, and past research performed here at Four Star Greenhouse in Carleton, Michigan. Please note that there may be a risk when growing product out in un-predictable conditions, Four Star does not guarantee these recommendations against the possibility of lost crops.