The trade show at this year’s WinterGreen conference of the Georgia Green Industry Association (GGIA) provided a look at some new (and not so new) products and plants for organic gardeners. The event was held last week, in Duluth, GA.
Most vendors at the trade show specialized in ornamental (non-edible) plants, machinery for large operations, products for commercial nurseries, and chemical-companies, but I located some local/sustainable/organic-related vendors, to share with you.
Recycled plastic nursery pots
East Jordan Plastics, in Michigan, displayed planting trays, growing pots, and some larger containers made from recycled plastics. Many gardeners are concerned about the excessive use of plastics in gardening. It is good to know of a plant-product company that is working to cut back on plastic waste, by re-using containers and recycling other plastics to create new containers.
RootMaker trays and pots for growing plants are the result of research in container design, with the goal of more robust root systems. The trays and containers that I examined seemed very sturdy — like they would last for years — and the informational literature was very compelling. The pots and trays have an unusual pattern of protrusions and holes inside, and those, according to the information, guide root growth into more-branched root systems.
I will be trying a RootMaker tray this year. The representative at the Trade Show did give me a couple of fabric liners, for use when growing plants in cinderblocks, so I cannot say that I am 100% unbiased. I will have to buy the tray, though.
Rice hulls for mulch
Until this trade show, I had not heard of using rice hulls as mulch in containers or as a substitute for perlite in planting mixes.
PBH brought samples of parboiled rice hulls, so people could see the actual product and understand how it can be used. The rice hulls are approved for use in organic systems. I did not bring home a little baggie of rice hulls, but I could have. There were plenty on the table. I did bring home the informational literature, to learn more.
PBH Nature’s Media Amendment is from Riceland Foods. This shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it was. It makes sense that the rice industry would want to find a good use for this bi-product of rice production. Looks like they were successful.
Pope’s CBD oil
This isn’t organic and it isn’t about growing, but I did learn that Tennessee grows industrial hemp. The CBD oil was displayed in what was otherwise an all-succulent-plants booth, for Pope’s Plant Farm. CBD oil seems to be a popular product these days. If anyone was looking for a local (-ish) source of CBD oil, Pope’s Plant Farm is one place to try.
The little succulent plants in the Pope’s booth were very cute. If I were more of an indoor gardener, I would probably grow some. My oldest son in Colorado does grow little succulent plants, so I pay more attention to them than I used to.
Bottom’s Nursery for fruit trees and other plants
Its plants are not organically grown, but after they are planted, most of the varieties at Bottoms Nursery will not need intensive programs of chemical sprays. All the varieties I saw in the catalog are relatively easy-care fruits that would do well when switched to organic management after planting, even in the South. Some are varieties that would do well in small space gardens.
The fruit trees at the back of the booth are what attracted my attention. The first tagged tree I noticed was a Kieffer pear, which I know to be both hardy and a producer of good-tasting fruit.
I wasn’t the only person drawn to the booth of Bottoms Nursery. Another vendor was there, discussing trees and other plants to order, to sell in his General Supply store.
General Supply, Inc, in Blairseville, GA
General Supply is the kind of “everything” store that makes some gardeners go into raptures. This is the store mentioned above that will be selling plants from Bottoms Nursery, but it is also a source of tools, pet supplies, small farm supplies, and a million more interesting things.
Of course, hand-tools are pretty appealing for gardeners working in small space gardens. We don’t need a large assortment of full-sized equipment for our little plots, but good tools make the work easier.
I was especially interested in the Truper brand tools (long-reach 15″ length, ash wood handles, sturdy forged “business ends”), but a full line of Corona tools — which are long-lasting and easy to use — was also on display.
The guy at the booth (so sorry that I did not record his name!) and I discussed the ergonomic benefit of tools that have the “business end” at a right-angle to the handle, when he showed me another tool designed for easier use.
The pruner on the right, in the nearby image of two Corona-brand pruners, has a different angle for the cutting edges. Do you see the difference? According to the guy in the booth, the angled pruner on the right would be easier to use on some branches, because it allows your arm and wrist to stay aligned, rather than to bend.
I haven’t tried it, so I don’t whether that really works, but I would be interested to try. When late-winter pruning time comes around (soon!), it would be good to avoid aggravating old injuries.
Gardeners heading toward the Blairesville area might want to put this store on their list of places-to-visit.
What else happens at the GGIA WinterGreen conference?
In addition to the trade show, the event provides continuing education opportunities for commercial lawn and garden folks. I did attend a workshop about Beneficial Insects, but that story is for another post.