GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The 2021 Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo, in partnership with the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo, will be held in person Dec. 7-9 at the Devos Place Conference Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The floriculture team from Michigan State University Extension worked with the Western Michigan Greenhouse Association and the Metro Detroit Flower Growers Association to develop an educational program consisting of 19 sessions on a wide variety of topics. This year’s lineup features young plant production, research project and plant trial updates, greenhouse pest management, and specialty cut flower production. These sessions, presented by industry experts, are designed for target audiences across the organizational spectrum from entry-level employees to operations managers.
For the six young plant production sessions, we’ve brought in several of the industry’s leading minds to discuss some of the essential aspects of high-quality plant production programs. Chris Currey from Iowa State University will talk about fertilizer program development and using plant growth regulators to improve crop quality. Brian Jackson from North Carolina State University discusses substrate selection, substrate suppliers and provides some insight into peat-reduced and peat-free options. Michelle Jones from Ohio State University will present some of her research on using biostimulants to improve plant performance and will also talk about how to recognize and prevent ethylene damage in the greenhouse. Sessions include:
- Developing a Fertilizer Program for Greenhouse Crops
- Using Biostimulants to Improve Greenhouse Crop Quality
- Guidance on Selecting Substrates and Substrate Suppliers
- Beyond the Basics: PGRs for Crop Improvement
- Recognizing and Preventing Ethylene Damage in the Greenhouse
- Next Generation Substrates: Peat-Reduced and Peat-Free Options
The research project and plant trial update sessions will touch on a variety of subjects that include annual and perennial trials, tropicals and succulents, and Michigan State University (MSU) research updates. Feature speakers include Daedre McGrath from MSU, Heidi Lindberg from MSU Extension and a presentation panel consisting of Andrew Jager from Walters Gardens, Greg Michalak from Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants, Brian Weesies from Mast Young Plants, Daedre McGrath of MSU, Barbara Slotman from Pell Greenhouses and Sue Maliszewski of Four State Greenhouses. Be sure to catch these sessions:
- Best-Performing Annuals and Perennials in Michigan
- Tropicals, Succulents, and Cacti, Oh My!
- Latest and Greatest from 2021 MSU Research Projects
Both new and experienced growers will benefit from presentations on insect, disease and weed management. Veronica Cervantes from Biobest USA will talk about the systems approach to biological control. Jeremy Jubenville of MSU Extension and Carly Kelly-Scholtz from Plant Products will cover the core concepts of greenhouse scouting, Nikki Lukasko and Blair Harlan from the Hausbeck lab at MSU will present some of the latest research on Botrytis and downy mildew control, while Debalina Saha from MSU gives us some insight on greenhouse weed management.
- Big Picture Biocontrol: A Multi-faceted Approach to Greenhouse IPM
- Battling Botrytis in the Greenhouse
- Tiny Game Hunting: Common Practices and Tips for Making the Most of Your Scouting Program
- Keeping the Weeds at Bay: Recommendations for Greenhouse Weed Control
- Advances in Downy Mildew Control and Greenhouse Disease Recommendations
Several sessions featuring specialty cut flower production will help growers learn about soil health, lighting, dried flowers and common floriculture diseases. Jennifer Duensing from Illinois Country Harvest walks us through their dried flower production process, Christina Curell and Paul Gross from MSU Extension cover some of the most important things to know about soil management, Jan Byrne from MSU Plant & Pest Diagnostics discusses a variety of floriculture diseases, and Caleb Spall from the Lopez lab at MSU covers light management for high-quality plant production. Don’t miss out on these sessions:
- Dried Flowers: Selection, Post-harvest Handling, and Drying Techniques
- Starting Right from the Roots Up: Soil Health Basics and Tips
- What’s Happening to My Plants? – Jan Byrne, MSU
- Managing Light to Improve Specialty Cut Flower Yield and Profits
Garden center owners will not want to miss a session from MSU’s Bridget Behe as she kicks off the Expo by sharing her retail insight on how to “Keep the Plant Sales Momentum Moving.” Growers may also be interested in a workshop on dried flower arrangements by Jennifer Duensing, the annual farm market bus tour, and a two-hour session on high tunnel and greenhouse vegetables offered by the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo.
Visit the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo website for the full session schedule.
Registration is now open! Early birds can save $20 by registering before Nov. 15, 2021. Attendees and exhibitors can find registration, lodging and trade show information at the Great Lakes Expo website.
— Jeremy Jubenville, Michigan State University Extension