Michigan ornamental growers are adding greenhouse vegetables

gourd on vine

Looking to take advantage of the increased demand for locally-grown and a better quality product, ornamental plant growers in Michigan are adding a variety of greenhouse vegetable crops.

Michigan State University Extension greenhouse and floriculture outreach specialist W. Garrett Owen said he works with ornamental growers who produce bedding plants, vegetable transplants for field production and retail sales and who also finish vegetables for retail sales.

Michigan ornamental plant growers are using a variety of production methods to grow greenhouse vegetables including using large nursery containers filled with the same substrate used to produce ornamental crops.

Even though these ornamental growers were growing vegetable transplants for field production and retail sales, Owen said they faced some challenges when trying to finish the vegetables under greenhouse conditions.

Owen said one of the biggest challenges these growers faced was trying to grow greenhouse vegetables in the same growing mixes they were using for ornamental plants.

“Trying to grow a greenhouse crop like tomatoes for months in the same ornamental growing mix caused some issues. For example, with a peat-perlite mix settling occurs and the particle size degrades over time. The chemical and physical properties are going to be altered, including air space and container capacity. Some of the air space in the substrate is lost from settling or compaction. Just because a substrate can be used to grow ornamentals in a short crop time, there are challenges using the same mix for longer-term greenhouse vegetables.”

This is an autogenerated summary from a published source: Michigan ornamental growers extend season with greenhouse vegetables