The STEM Podcast
KidsGardening.org: Helping Young Minds Grow

KidsGardening.org: Helping Young Minds Grow

June 13, 2019

(Interview starts at 6:22) Our guest today is Helen Rortvedt, executive director of KidsGardening.org, a national organization that has been a leader in the school gardening movement since 1982. KidsGardening inspires, supports and connects educators and families by providing garden grants and curriculum, and as they say – by cultivating a community of practice. Check out their stated mission: We create opportunities for kids to learn and grow through gardening, engaging their natural curiosity and wonder. And it is also opportunity that encouraged me to not only reach out to Helen to join me on the STEM greenhouse podcast but also to join the organization’s board of directors in 2018. I am proud to be a part of KidsGardening.org and know for a fact that after listening to this episode, you will also be inspired to engage with them in one of many ways.

This episode is relevant to every person in the horticulture industry, no matter what your segment or role. We all know a teacher. We all know a kid. We are all a part of a community. We all love plants and understand how they can positively impact someone’s life or how they engage with the world around them. All of these commonalities mean we have what it takes to lend support to KidsGardening. But in the next 40 minutes we’ll all learn a lot more about how impactful a school garden can be, how important garden curriculum is across all ages of students subjects in schools, how a community garden program can lift the spirits of kids who feel alienated and lost and how getting youth excited about gardening will not only grow our future customer base but potentially also our future labor force.

Resources:

Newsletter sign up: https://kidsgardening.org/subscribe-to-kidsgarden-news/
Youth Garden Grant Info - the 2020 Youth Garden Grant will open Fall, 2019: https://kidsgardening.org/garden-grants/
2019 Youth Garden Grant with this year's sponsors and winners: https://kidsgardening.org/2019-youth-garden-grant/
Youth Garden Grant Sponsor Info: https://kidsgardening.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Youth-Garden-Grant-Sponsorship-Levels-2-page.pdf
Portal link for teachers: Either go to kidsgardening.org and use the "Educator Resources" menu in the navigation bar, or visit https://kidsgardening.org/educator-resources/
Growing Guides: https://kidsgardening.org/plant-of-the-month/
Kids Garden Month Info: https://kidsgardening.org/kidsgarden-month-2019/

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KidsGardening.org/ |@KidsGardening.org
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kidsgardening/ | @kidsgardening
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kids_Gardening | @Kids_Gardening

Contact Links:

Email Guest Helen Rortvedt: HelenR@kidsgardening.org
Email Host Bill Calkins: bcalkins@ballhort.com

NEW! Connect on Instagram - @STEMGreenhousePodcast
#STEMGreenhousePodcast
Connect with Ball Seed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ball-seed-co/
Follow The Gardens at Ball on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GardensAtBall/
See Ball Seed Videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BallSeedVideo

Jerry Gorchels: A Day and a Life in Horticulture

Jerry Gorchels: A Day and a Life in Horticulture

June 1, 2019

Our guest today is Jerry Gorchels, a long-time industry professional who’s worn many hats over his more than 45 year career – from managing his high school greenhouse to collaborating with leading breeders and researchers in the development of some of the industry’s legendary plants and always staying closely connected with greenhouse growers, many of whom rely on Jerry for his cultural and technical expertise. Jerry is one of the most recognizable faces representing PanAmerican Seed in the North American market and has been an example and mentor to many current industry leaders. And if you know Jerry, you’ll understand why I was so excited for him to join me on STEM to share stories of people and plants, advice for folks new to the industry, as well as for those who have grown for decades AND hear about the changes he’s seen over his career and what he expects in the future. Find out what Jerry looks for as soon as he walks through the door of a greenhouse and the latest tip and trick he learned from a grower. We cover a lot this episode so be sure to listen all the way to the end. Especially if you want to hear about Jerry’s home garden and the unexpected annual he makes sure to plant every single year.

From cut flowers to shade annuals and ugly ducklings to the most recognized plants of all time, you’re in for a fantastic ride with Jerry.

Resources:

PanAmerican Seed Website: https://www.panamseed.com/

PanAmerican Seed Crop Culture: https://www.panamseed.com/culture.aspx?type=Ann

STEM Episode 9 – Vegetable Breeding: https://stempodcast.podbean.com/e/today%E2%80%99s-vegetable-breeding-trendy-delicious/

STEM Episode 10 - Wave Petunias: https://stempodcast.podbean.com/e/wave-past-present-future/

STEM Episode 26 – Beacon Impatiens: https://stempodcast.podbean.com/e/battling-disease-with-beacon-impatiens/

Contact Links:

Email Host Bill Calkins: bcalkins@ballhort.com

NEW! Connect on Instagram - @STEMGreenhousePodcast

#STEMGreenhousePodcast

Connect with Ball Seed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ball-seed-co/

Follow The Gardens at Ball on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GardensAtBall/

See Ball Seed Videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BallSeedVideo

Build a Winning Lavender Program

Build a Winning Lavender Program

May 15, 2019

(Interview starts at 6:17.) Our guest today is Chris Fifo, former head grower and current technical expert working with Darwin Perennials and KieftSeed. Chris has been with us on STEM before – back in episode 13 where he helped demystify perennial production with Leland Toering but this time he will focus on one crop and dive deep into the lavender pool covering this popular crop from start to finish. We spend some time talking about the recent growth in popularity of lavender, as well as how it is currently positioned in the market. Then Chris takes us into the virtual greenhouse to help you develop a frost to frost lavender program using the most optimal methods to deliver the correct temperature, light, nutrition, gases and PGRs to your crop. The goal is to help you ship the absolute best lavender crop top market because we know that when top notch lavenders arrive at retail, they sell fast. After we talk production, Chris spends some time helping you select the best varieties for each use – from early season to Fall and from landscape performance to indoor use and essential oil production. Although I do like episodes where the guests and I jump from topic to topic, sometimes it’s nice to focus. And trust me – this episode is focused squarely on lavender.

Resources:

Build a Winning Lavender Program Slideshow: https://www.slideshare.net/bcalkins/build-a-winning-lavender-program
Darwin Perennials Blog on Lavender Trials: https://www.darwinperennials.com/Blog/2019/02/14/lavender-trial-results-chicago-botanic-garden.html
Darwin Perennials Resources: https://www.darwinperennials.com/Culture/
KieftSeed Resources: https://www.panamseed.com/perennials.aspx
Darwin Perennials 2019 Catalog: https://www.ballseed.com/Virtual/2019_Darwin_BSC/index.aspx
KieftSeed 2019 Catalog (Perennials P. 142): https://www.ballseed.com/Virtual/2020_21_PasCatalog/index.aspx
Darwin Perennials Day 2019! https://www.darwinperennialsday.com/default.aspx

Contact Links:

Email Guest Chris Fifo: cfifo@darwinperennials.com
Email Host Bill Calkins: bcalkins@ballhort.com
NEW! Connect on Instagram - @STEMGreenhousePodcast
#STEMGreenhousePodcast
Connect with Ball Seed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ball-seed-co/
Follow The Gardens at Ball on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GardensAtBall/
See Ball Seed Videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BallSeedVideo

Calibrachoa: From Start to Finish to Sold 

Calibrachoa: From Start to Finish to Sold 

April 29, 2019

(Interview starts at 7:30.) Our guest today is James Doukas, who knows a lot about calibrachoa. As well he should because he’s grown hundreds of thousands of them during his career as a professional grower and now helps growers in the eastern regions of North America produce the best crops possible in his role with Ball FloraPlant and Selecta One. In this episode, James takes us from start to finish with this popular annual plant, covering propagation and root health, pitfalls to avoid, planning ahead for pH issues, avoiding aphids, taking your crop across the goal line to sell quickly at retail and much, much more. We talk about a few of his favorite varieties and also did deep into the nuances of growing balanced multispecies baskets and combos that include calibrachoa. From start to Finish to Sold, you’re in for a calibrachoa lesson with James! 

Resources: 

Ball FloraPlant 2019 Catalog: https://www.ballseed.com/Virtual/2019_BFP/index.aspx 

Selecta One 2019 Catalog: https://www.ballseed.com/Virtual/2019_Selecta/index.aspx  

Ball FloraPlant Tech Talk on Cabaret Calibrachoa Baskets: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07dXEL7upLU&list=PLCj41LTtDwjPQ0uIFNKLDEFKOOJJlKRFh&index=18&t=0s  

NC State Research on Powdery Mildew on Calibrachoa Crops: https://plantpathology.ces.ncsu.edu/2018/04/powdery-mildew-on-calibrachoa-million-bells/ 

Greening up Calibrachoa and Petunia from Michigan State University: https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/greening_up_calibrachoa_petunia  

Cornell University on Crop Schedules with Less Heat: http://www.greenhouse.cornell.edu/crops/factsheets/SchedulingHeat.pdf 

Media Moisture Scales – STEM Episode 21: The Language of Watering: https://stempodcast.podbean.com/e/the-language-of-watering/ 

 

Contact Links: 

Email Guest James Doukas: jdoukas@ballhort.com  

Email Host Bill Calkins: bcalkins@ballhort.com 

NEW! Connect on Instagram - @STEMGreenhousePodcast 

#STEMGreenhousePodcast 

Connect with Ball Seed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ball-seed-co/  

Follow The Gardens at Ball on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GardensAtBall/ 

See Ball Seed Videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BallSeedVideo  

Your Best Mum Crop Ever (Part 1)

Your Best Mum Crop Ever (Part 1)

April 15, 2019

Interview starts at 8:00 - Our guest today our guest today is Dr. Will Healy and he’s kicking off a three-part miniseries focused on garden mum production intended to help you produce the absolute best mum crops you possibly can – using the newest genetics and latest strategies. We’re not releasing these episodes back to back to back but instead when they are most relevant – because many of you listen in real time. This episode is all about starting your crop – getting them vegetative and keeping them vegetative. Dr. Healy will go in depth into the two most critical factors at this stage in the game – Temperature and Feeding. He’ll cover the most effective temperatures – mums like it hot – and we will learn all about thermophotoperiodicity. Then he’ll transition over to fertilizer strategies because mums are heavy feeders early. We we’ll also touch on other pieces of the production puzzle including, insect and disease prevention, PGRs and more. With plenty of tips and tricks peppered throughout. This will be a great episode to share with your entire team – because starting your mum crop during some of the busiest spring shipping weeks probably means all hands are on deck.

Looking ahead, Dr. Healy will be back in a couple months to cover your actively growing mum crop and discuss starting short days, catching any problems and timing the crop to be retail ready when it’s needed in store. The third episode in late Summer will continue the timing message and wrap up with finishing tips and tricks to make sure the absolute best crop is going to market.

 

Resources:

Ball Mums Catalog with Culture and Propagation Guides: https://www.ballseed.com/Virtual/2018_mums/index.aspx

Ball Seed Chrysanthemum White Rust Awareness Document: https://www.ballseed.com/PDF/Chrysanthemum-WhiteRust-Awareness-2018.pdf

Cornell University Chrysanthemum White Rust Alert & Management: https://www.ballseed.com/PDF/Chrysanthemum-WhiteRust-Alert&Management-June2018.pdf

Dr. Healy’s Past Episodes:

STEM Episode 21: The Language of Watering - https://stempodcast.podbean.com/e/the-language-of-watering/

STEM Episode 22: Watering: The Rest of the Story - https://stempodcast.podbean.com/e/watering-the-rest-of-the-story/

 

Contact Links:

Email Guest Dr. Will Healy: whealy@ballhort.com
Ball Seed Customer Relations and Mum Help: 1-800-879-BALL
Email Host Bill Calkins: bcalkins@ballhort.com

NEW! Connect on Instagram - @STEMGreenhousePodcast
#STEMGreenhousePodcast
Tweet Host Bill Calkins: @billcalkins
Connect with Ball Seed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ball-seed-co/
Follow The Gardens at Ball on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GardensAtBall/
See Ball Seed Videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BallSeedVideo

Tales from the Trials

Tales from the Trials

April 1, 2019

For this episode of STEM, we tried something very different. It’s an episode of stories heard while attending California Spring Trials. (Note: This is NOT an April Fools Day episode – these stories are real!)

Walking through greenhouse and displays of innovative new plants at the 2019 California Spring Trials is inspirational. That’s where I am right now – so this podcast is somewhat live for the first time. Not completely live since I’m actually in my hotel room – but live in a sense since it’s day three of the trials and there are two more days left. Seeing and learning about cutting-edge solutions for professional growers, garden center retailers, landscapers and home gardeners is so exciting and the energy out here is amazingly high. And why wouldn’t it be? I’m surrounded by product managers, plant breeders and marketing managers who have worked for years to bring these amazing genetics and programs to market. For some, these trials are the first time their new varieties are being unveiled after years or decades of work. The hours, sweat and even tears have finally paid off.

And behind every one of these introductions is a person or team AND subsequently, a story. The breeding, selection, trialing, testing and vetting can take years. Most have been evaluated around the world and subjected to a wide variety of climates, production scenarios, disease screens, shipping trials and so much more than most of us will ever see. The path to introduction is complex and the effort required is monumental.

For many new plants, the pipeline is established and the process has been perfected. For others, the path is opportunistic. And for some, it involves outrunning baboons. Seriously – outrunning baboons. You’ll have to listen all the way to the end to hear that one.

So I hope you enjoy this fun episode. It was fun hearing these stories and more and what really sticks out to me is the passion with which they were told. The folks in our industry who breed and select plants are dedicated individuals who really know their stuff. Sometimes their years of work pay off bigtime and millions of plants are sold and sometimes the trials are thrown out. But no matter what, they keep at it in an effort to bring new technology to the world of horticulture year after year after year. When you see all of the amazing new products coming to market in the weeks and months after California Spring Trials, remember that each product has a story.

How about you? Do you have a fun or unexpected plant breeding story to share? I’d love to hear it! Email me at bcalkins@ballhort.com.

Contact Links:
Host Bill Calkins: bcalkins@ballhort.com
NEW! Connect on Instagram - @STEMGreenhousePodcast
#STEMGreenhousePodcast
Tweet Host Bill Calkins: @billcalkins
Connect with Ball Seed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ball-seed-co/
Follow The Gardens at Ball on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GardensAtBall/
See Ball Seed Videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BallSeedVideo

Consumer Insights from GrowIt!

Consumer Insights from GrowIt!

March 13, 2019

Interview starts at 5:30 - The last time we heard from GrowIt! cofounder Mason Day he was accompanied by the other founder Seth Reed. This time, he’s joining us because he’s the data guy at GrowIt! and they have some fascinating data to share – or Insights as we will call the info this episode. Get ready to learn some of the favorite plants and current trends gleaned from hundreds of thousands of users and millions of data points. Also, this will be the very first time GrowIt! goes into detail publicly about their Insights program – a new product that will bring customized data and insights (there’s that word again…) to you – data you can use to drive decisions in your business. Let me remind you that as I shared the last time GrowIt was featured on the podcast, the team behind this unique tech company are hort people first and tech people second, so the info Mason will deliver this episode is firmly rooted in our industry and applicable for professional growers, garden center retailers and the landscape trade – our STEM listener base.

But to me, the most exciting part of this episode is NOT the current insights Mason will share. The part that has my brain spinning and thinking forward is predictive analytics – creating models and trend lines not just to claim Monstera is a hot plant with millennials (which it certainly is) but to determine why that happened and what the next in plants will be. And as Mason explains, this can be done with data. In our industry. Today. This is HUGE!

Download the GrowIt! Mobile App and learn more about this tech company: https://www.growitmobile.com/

10 Insights from the GrowIt! Plant Community: https://www.growitmobile.com/resources/gardenshops/

Past Episode with GrowIt! – What Today’s Shopper Wants: https://stempodcast.podbean.com/e/what-today%E2%80%99s-shopper-wants/

Contact Links:

Guest Mason Day: mday@growitmobile.com
Host Bill Calkins: bcalkins@ballhort.com

NEW! Connect on Instagram - @STEMGreenhousePodcast

#STEMGreenhousePodcast
Tweet Host Bill Calkins: @billcalkins
Connect with Ball Seed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ball-seed-co/
Follow The Gardens at Ball on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GardensAtBall/
See Ball Seed Videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BallSeedVideo

Today’s Male Shopper

Today’s Male Shopper

February 28, 2019

Show starts at 4:23 - This episode is going to be a solocast – meaning it’ll be me the entire time with no guest. Generally, this podcast stems from my role as Product Marketing Manager for Ball Seed – where I work with many of the business units and breeding companies at Ball to position and promote products and programs available from our distribution team. The podcast is often a way to transfer technical information from our experts to you through the audio podcast platform. But here and there, I swap that hat with my other role at Ball, one of our retail business managers working with retailers and the professional growers who supply them. In past episodes, I discussed selling to different tribes or groups of customers – like business travelers, young professionals, parents, recently retired boomers and more. I have also talked about tips for being the absolute best wholesale provider for your retail customers – from a retailers’ perspective. This time, I’m going to tackle a topic that near and dear to my heart, and one in which I hold some expertise. I would say a little bit of expertise, but my wife might put that bar a bit higher. How Men Shop and more importantly Why It Matters to Lawn & Garden. I’ll start by sharing some baseline statistics and then move to some generalized shopping habit differences between men and women and finally work through some research and share ways I feel this can impact our industry – the business of selling more plants.

Past Episodes Referenced:

Contact Links:

Email Host Bill Calkins: bcalkins@ballhort.com
NEW! Connect on Instagram - @STEMGreenhousePodcast
#STEMGreenhousePodcast
Tweet Host Bill Calkins: @billcalkins
Connect with Ball Seed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ball-seed-co/
Follow The Gardens at Ball on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GardensAtBall/
See Ball Seed Videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BallSeedVideo

Battling Disease with Beacon Impatiens

Battling Disease with Beacon Impatiens

February 15, 2019

Interview starts at 5:38 - Our guest today is Lisa Lacy and she is going to tell us all about a game changing new product that has the opportunity to impact every one of us in horticulture, as well as everyone who gardens and enjoys landscapes. You may have heard clips and stories and seen press releases about cutting edge new impatiens with resistance to the Impatiens Downy Mildew disease that has decimated one of the world’s most important bedding plants – Impatiens walleriana. Well, Lisa is the product manager and leading expert on Beacon Impatiens, a brand new series bred by PanAmerican Seed that’s proven to exhibit high resistance to the Plasmopara obducens microorganism that leads to Impatiens Downy Mildew.

To put this disease in scope, 10 years ago there were billions of seeds of Impatiens walleriana sold worldwide and PanAmerican Seed alone offered 9 impatiens series. Since then, due to the widespread nature of the disease, sales of Walleriana seeds have dropped as much as 50% and this garden mainstay has disappeared from retail shelves and commercial landscapes in a big way.

Now it’s time to hear the story that began in 2008 when PanAm started planning and building a team around the problem and continues to this spring, 2019, when the new Beacon series will debut at California Spring Trials. It’s a story filled with emotion but built on a foundation of science. It’s a story of collaboration. It’s a story with an amazing moral – because a portion of the sales of the new Beacon series will benefit lesser known causes and foundations. And most of all, it’s a story our guest, Lisa Lacy, is proud to share with the STEM listeners because as she clearly states in this discussion, seeing will lead to believing and it will take an industry effort to share the message that impatiens are back!

NEW Beacon Impatiens Website: http://www.beaconimpatiens.com/

Connect Four Article - Garden Design 2019 Trends: https://www.gardendesign.com/trends/2019.html

Contact Links:

PanAmerican Seed Website: https://www.panamseed.com/

Ball Seed Customer Relations: 1-800-879-BALL

Email Host Bill Calkins: bcalkins@ballhort.com

NEW! Connect on Instagram - @STEMGreenhousePodcast

#STEMGreenhousePodcast

Tweet Host Bill Calkins: @billcalkins

Connect with Ball Seed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ball-seed-co/

Follow The Gardens at Ball on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GardensAtBall/

See Ball Seed Videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BallSeedVideo

Starting Strong with Vegetative Production

Starting Strong with Vegetative Production

January 31, 2019

Our guest this episode is Dr. Todd Cavins. Todd is one of our technical services experts at Ball Seed and has been helping professional growers solve greenhouse production challenges for more than ten years in the field and before that was a professor at Oklahoma State University. He was actually my second guest on STEM almost a year ago and shared tons of tips and advice for getting off to a great start with plugs and seed raised young plants. If you missed the episode or hadn’t started listening to STEM yet, I’ll put a link in the show notes. Well, Todd is back in episode 25 to talk about vegetative production – Unrooted Cuttings and Liners – and how to start strong and work to ensure a top-quality saleable crop with few to no losses.

This is a very informative discussion where we cover topics including some ways to be prepared to receive and handle inputs, the importance of maintaining an optimal environment for cuttings, managing conditions that are less than ideal and the overall life of a URC. He shares tips and tricks for creating a replicable process for your production team from high tech systems for misting and computerized VPD to low tech approaches like posting pictures and specs to get everyone involved in young plant production on the same page. We spend some time discussing what to do when things start to go wrong and common times the uh-ohs happen and a reminder to go back to the five factors of plant growth when challenges pop up. Todd ends by sharing specific crops that need to be treated differently and also some of his favorite resources and go to materials if you want to dig deeper into this critical topic. This is definitely an episode you’ll want to share widely within your greenhouse team.

Check out Todd’s previous podcast episode!

STEM Episode 2: Getting Off to a Great Start

Refer back to STEM episodes on Watering:

Pt. 1 - The Language of Watering: https://stempodcast.podbean.com/e/the-language-of-watering/

Pt. 2 – Watering, The Rest of the Story: https://stempodcast.podbean.com/e/watering-the-rest-of-the-story/

Technical Resources Referenced:

 

Contact Links:

Email Guest Dr. Todd Cavins: tcavins@ballhort.com

Ball Seed Customer Relations: 1-800-879-BALL

Email Host Bill Calkins: bcalkins@ballhort.com

NEW! Connect on Instagram - @STEMGreenhousePodcast

Tweet Host Bill Calkins: @billcalkins

Connect with Ball Seed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ball-seed-co/

Follow The Gardens at Ball on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GardensAtBall/

See Ball Seed Videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BallSeedVideo