New tools developed to improve firms' efficiency, aid

home gardeners

By KELSEY THALHOFER

Capital Press

The Farwest Show will introduce 13 new nursery products, from an organic pesticide to an inventory control app for smartphones.

The showcased products are targeted at growers, retailers and consumers alike.

The showcase, a new feature at last year's show, is designed to help attendees at the show find new products for their nursery needs in one location, rather than searching every booth on the show floor.

"At some trade shows you have a definite line between exhibitors and attendees," said Allan Niemi, OAN director of events and education. At this show, he said, many exhibitors are also searching for new products. "We're trying to make the show easier to identify the latest, greatest components."

One product Niemi is excited about is a line of organic herbicides and insecticides from EcoLogic. Bonfire uses lemongrass oil to wilt weeds, while X-it kills pests on contact by using botanical oils and can be used on the day of harvest. Both are safe for greenhouse use.

Jay Sanders, 2012-13 Farwest Show chairman, was particularly excited about the implementation of smartphone and tablet applications in the professional grower's workday. The SBI Software remote order-entry app allows users to update inventory and keep track of customers and orders. Workers shipping product can also use the shipping app to update shipped quantities and flag orders as loaded.

"You're basically downloading information from the field straight to your mainframe server," Sanders said of the apps. "It's really critical to have live information available to your customers."

The 50-inch diameter round Big Bag Bed by High Caliper Growing Systems is a 12-inch-tall reusable flower bed border made from breathable fabric and useful for home gardeners.

The Ecotonix Green Cycler, also aimed at the home grower, processes food waste before it hits the compost pile, allowing faster breakdown without the mess and odor of countertop precompost bins.

While in the past attendees could easily overlook a new product amid the huge selection of exhibitors at the Farwest show, Niemi said this year the 1,000-square-foot new product display will allow users to see and touch products and easily discover what might fit their growing and retail needs.

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