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Bulletin #1057, Skill and Knowledge Checklist for Greenhouse Growers

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Bulletin #1057, Skill and Knowledge Checklist for Greenhouse Growers

Greenhouse showing intensive production methods and diverse crops. Furnaces are at both ends of the greenhouse.Bulletin #1057, Skill and Knowledge Checklist for Greenhouse Growers (PDF)

Developed by Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist, Matt Wallhead, University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit extension.umaine.edu.
Find more of our publications and books at extensionpubs.umext.maine.edu.

This list is designed for greenhouse growers in Maine who wish to continually gain knowledge and skills to improve the likelihood of becoming more profitable. The grower or prospective grower can use this list to identify specific skills or knowledge to be gained or improved upon.

As a grower, feel free to customize this list to suit your needs.


Circle your current and desired (target) competence using this scale:

1=No knowledge/skill
2=Some knowledge/skill
3=Well-informed/experienced

Recommended knowledge
My current level My target level
Planning
Know how to select a proper site for a greenhouse including considerations such as purpose of business (retail vs production), availability of utilities, microclimate, roads, availability of labor, room to expand, etc. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to prepare land for greenhouse construction. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know properly layout for drainage. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know where to get professional guidance. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know local, state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to greenhouse production. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with permitting processes. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to contact your local planning board. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to select appropriate greenhouse structures for Maine. 1 2 2 1 2 3
Be familiar with reputable sources for seeds, liners, plugs and plants. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to properly document employees. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with recording keeping and point-of-sale software and hardware. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Production
Understand the importance of proper plant spacing. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Able to calculate number of plants per unit of area. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Understand the importance of beneficial microorganisms. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Understand the water needs of specific greenhouse crops and how to monitor water availability. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with environmental control systems. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to receive, store and ship greenhouse crops effectively. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to transplant greenhouse liners and plugs with success. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to layout a greenhouse for planting. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Understand the purposes for pruning. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how and when to prune greenhouse plants. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Growing Media and Fertilizers
Understand the importance of water quality. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to properly test growing media fertility levels. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to interpret a nutrient analysis. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to select and use fertilizers effectively for greenhouse crops. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know the pros and cons of synthetic and organic fertilizers. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Understand the importance of growing media pH. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with methods to change the growing media pH to suit specific crops (to increase and to decrease). 1 2 3 1 2 3
Pest Management
Be able to recognize common insect pests and diseases of greenhouse crops in Maine. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to determine the least toxic approach to managing insect pests and diseases. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know where and how to send plant specimens with insect or disease damage for diagnosis. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Able to identify common weeds in and around greenhouses in Maine. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to effectively control weeds using least toxic approaches. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Able to calibrate sprayer (backpack or greenhouse sprayers). 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of greenhouse crops. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Able to distinguish disease, insect or environmental damage of greenhouse crops. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be able to obtain a private applicators license through the Board of Pesticides Control. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to select and use the proper pesticide(s) for specific purposes. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to read a pesticide label and follow its directions. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Recognize the importance of a pesticide label for specific pesticides. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to properly store personal protective equipment. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to properly wear a respirator. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with biological controls for greenhouse insect pest and diseases. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Able to identify damage caused by vertebrate pests. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know effective prevention methods for various vertebrate pests (mice, birds). 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with organic certification of greenhouse crops (if applicable). 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to use a hand lens (loop) to view insects and disease signs. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Able to detect problems in the greenhouse (biotic and abiotic). 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with the New England Greenhouse Floriculture Guide and how to use it. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Plant Storage
Know how to properly store greenhouse crops (suitable temperature and humidity). 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to effectively monitor storage for greenhouse crop quality. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with different storage systems (refrigeration, controlled atmosphere). 1 2 3 1 2 3
Marketing
Be familiar with methods to accurately determine customer needs. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with ways to effectively market greenhouse crops to consumers. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Understand the pros and cons of direct marketing methods for selling greenhouse crops. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be able to calculate appropriate price for greenhouse crops based on quality and conditions. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be able to list plants for sale. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with the quantities of plants sold (6-pack, flat, etc.). 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to create or select signage for marketing greenhouse crops. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to effectively display greenhouse crops for sale. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with the services of the Marketing Division of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Labor
Know how to interview and hire workers for the greenhouse. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to motivate and manage labor. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to train new workers for specific tasks. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with labor laws as they relate to greenhouse workers and employers. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to dismiss an employee. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to effectively attract new workers. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to effectively retain greenhouse workers. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Tools, Equipment, and Safety
Be familiar with worker protection safety (WPS) requirements. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with Right-to-Know, the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know State Board of Pesticide requirements. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to safely operate a tractor and/or utility vehicle. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to check fluid levels of a tractor. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to safely maneuver a tractor or UTV with a two-wheel trailer in a forward motion. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to safely operate a forklift. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with common greenhouse equipment (sprayers, pot-filler, transplanter, vacuum seeder, bale shaver). 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with proper use of common hand tools. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to safely handle pruners and hand shears. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to select and use suitable personal protective equipment for greenhouse jobs. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be familiar with small engine preventative maintenance. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Business and Economics
Be able to keep production records. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be able to keep and use financial records for business decisions. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be able to keep records for tax purposes. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to target advertising. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know to monitor inventory. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to use or create an enterprise budget. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to determine the break-even point for specific crops. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Social Human Interactions
Know who your neighbors are and how to be a good neighbor. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Be aware and follow local code enforcement regulations. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to be a positive influence in your community as a greenhouse grower. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to protect yourself and your workers from illness. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Appreciate the importance of good customer service and relations. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Understand the importance of continuing education. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Participate in professional meetings, tours, and organizations. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to build knowledge. 1 2 3 1 2 3
Know how to work effectively with local supplier and equipment dealers. 1 2 3 1 2 3

Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2019

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