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Something old can be new again


July 17, 2013
By Dave Harrison/Greenhouse Canada

July 17, 2013, Columbus, Ohio — Putting old varieties to new uses makes good business sense.

“Re-inventing Crops to Make Money … From Passe to Nouveau” was the focus
of a presentation by Garry Grueber of Cultivaris Europe, April Herring
of Pacific Plug & Liner, and Rita Randolph of Rita’s Rare Plants
during this year’s Ohio Short Course.

Some of the crops that may have lost a little of their lustre over time can be put to new uses today, said the panel.

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In particular, “a lot of old tropical plants are making a comeback,” said Randolph.

She added that growers and retailers should pair up some of these
varieties to put them in a new light with consumers. They won’t be
disappointed.

“You can combine them in many different ways,” she said, including
placing them in distinctive containers. “Don’t let them sit on the bench
by themselves.”

Grueber said breeders are tackling the challenge by developing mini
varieties of the old standards. “It’s a different look that customers
appreciate.”

And grown as a “mini,” they soon find a “whole new market.”

Herring said her company is attracting a lot of attention with its
grafting of an older basil variety with hardier rootstock. ‘Savour
Basil’ is a Greek basil variety grafted to a wild-type tree form. The
result is a topiary-like plant. “You can even place other herbs under it
in the container,” said Herring.


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