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How to manage the irrigation of flowers and plants in a retail store

How to manage the irrigation of flowers and plants in a retail store
The logic behind the watering process in a store is very simple: healthy plants. The water is vital to keep the plants in a perfect state of sale. The Irrigation is one of the most important step in the retail location and the persons responsible for this task should be educated appropriately. It’s suggested to assign the task to selected persons in order to manage the entire selling point, indoor or outdoor.

If the strength of a retail area is the wide variety of plants and flowers it can become a challenge for irrigation' management.  In a retail location, you should irrigate enough to keep the plant in the best possible state. This means, for example, if you over irrigate, you will induce the blooming, a stage of advanced flowering; the customer's perception, in this case, is that the plant will not last. Garden plants, for instance, will grow very quickly and will appear thin and too tall. Opposite, a poor irrigation is synonymous of dehydration and the plants will not transmit the brightness necessary to induce the customer to buy. Irrigation is therefore an activity that shall be adjusted with the utmost professionalism in order to always have healthy plants and minimize the shrink.
How to manage the irrigation of flowers and plants in a retail store
WATERING MANAGEMENT: Automatic, manual/semi-automatic

The seasons, the weather, the sales area (Structure) and the size of the point of sale, the type of soil used, the wide varieties displayed and the expected turnover - are some of the factors that determine the choice on which irrigation system to adopt in the store.

The ideal area where to use the automatic irrigation is outdoor and, in particular, with focus on medium large plants. One of the technique to use is the "drip system" that allows you to irrigate plants consistently reducing labor costs. The automatic irrigation indoor is a bit more sensible issue that would need particular attentions. Imagine a bench display with plants that have been irrigated once for the day and, after a short time, a part of the products are sold. Restoring the stock on the bench means to place new plants that are not hydrated. Therefore is important to find the right hydration balance to avoid the increase of over spread fungal diseases, which, by the way, persist and attack other plants in the sales area.
Manual / semi-automatic
Manual or semiautomatic watering is the most suitable solution for Garden Centre of any size. In case of hybrid environments, for instance carrying seasonal plants, you can adjust the automatic system to fill the tub with water to a minimum, almost to touch the point of support between the pots and tub. It is important to avoid the stagnation of water that should drain out after one or two hours, depending on the type and size of the plant. The drainage can also be done by normal absorption. The technique to do the manual hose watering is even more simple and supported by the features of the benches, that is the drain channels, filter, inlet tap and so on.
The mix of the automatism allows the operators to get a great result, which, although it may seem "onerous", will bring many benefits in the long run. The most important factor is the experience of the operator who, in addition to monitoring the status of waters, may determine the health status of plants.  In order to maintain order and cleanliness in our Garden Centre, you should always opt for subsurface irrigation, thus maintaining the plants always clean and dry in the surface.
The Basins/benches must be 100% leveled. This is an easy task due the adjustable feet and legs. If the benches are longer than 3 meters, you should apply the valves on both ends in order to obtain a more homogeneous irrigation.
How to manage the irrigation of flowers and plants in a retail store
How to manage the irrigation of flowers and plants in a retail store

Suitable for irrigation system ‘ebb and flow’, thanks to its technical features and appearance, it is the better replacement of the aluminum shelves, inadequate because of the summer overheating and the unsightly incrustation due to the use of water and fertilizers.
The polystyrene shelf is non-glare, high resistant to UV radiations with an height to the border  of 60 mm and it has filter and drain-cock. Its fretted forms avoid water stagnation and it becomes ideal for ebb and flow system irrigations.

Cross section 
The drainage channels only are placed alongside the tray. The channels are small, but the amount has been increased and ensures a good quality of water distribution and draining. It is also suitable for cultivation in small pots. Furthermore it makes the cleaning easier, as the omission of the cross channels makes it easier to sweep and wash the dirt off the bench trays.

How to manage the irrigation of flowers and plants in a retail store

The water that runoff is channeled to prevent the block the channels, making them dirty or slippery. For this reason, it is advisable to apply to the drain a flexible hose in order to direct the water. Through the use of dedicated systems, it is possible to recycle the water (reverse osmosis, for instance).  Despite the outflow being channeled, in the sales point is always advisable to design efficient water drain lines. Regular wells do not guarantee a good outflow.
How to manage the irrigation of flowers and plants in a retail store
How to manage the irrigation of flowers and plants in a retail store

The Ebb/flow systems are the most frequent used cultivating system for plant production in a modern greenhouse. In Europe, who is the pioneer continent in this branch of business, the ebb/flow system is widely used. In other continents, where a lot less- or no environmental requirements exist, the systems are used considerably less. But the spreading in these areas is moving rapidly as the environmental demands get more strict, and also at a time that more modern technology is introduced, which makes optimal use of the ebb/flow systems.
An ebb/flow system is a closed system, where the often fertilize dispensing watering is pumped out on the trays, by which the cultivation starts soaking up the water and the added fertilizer. After a certain time the trays are emptied again, and the remaining water runs back into a central tank. It can then as needed be added more clean water and fertilizer till the mixture again has the desired composition before the next watering is done. See the example of a typical installation with ebb/flow tables, see above.

Ebb/flow systems holds a number of advantages, i.e.: 
  • No water or fertilizer is wasted.
  • Under watering principle.
  • Possibility of a possible automatic composition of the fertilizer in the water.
  • Possibility of a very precise management of watering times.