Photographs can be beautiful, but nothing quite beats the rush of seeing new varieties in real life.
Similar to the All-America Selections Program in the United States, Quebec’s horticultural assessment program, Les Exceptionnelles (the Exceptionals) selects six to ten annual plants each year that have stood out for their performance and ease in growing in the assessment gardens in Canada’s northern climate.
Proven Winners has released its 2019 Trade Collection catalogue for Canadian growers in both print and digital formats. Growers can view the catalog online or request a printed copy from Nordic Nurseries in British Columbia or Ed Sobkowich Greenhouses in Ontario.
Pre-made mixed planters have been gaining popularity over the past couple of years. But what makes an attractive mix? Researchers at the University of Guelph and Vineland Research and Innovation Centre saw an opportunity to gain a better understanding of consumer preferences for container plants.
With multiple plant breeders and tech suppliers, Windmill Nursery is a must-see stop on the CAST map.
For the first time in Danziger’s CAST history, their trial garden will feature an area exclusively for retailers. This private space will include new and exclusive varieties, as well as retail displays with full-grown individual plants and container combinations. Here are some highlights:
This year’s California Spring Trials are particularly special for Benary – it’s their 175th anniversary. Known for their fun, out-of-the-box activities during CAST, this year is no different. Here's a sample of the new varieties you can look forward to during your visit:
With CAST 2018 on the horizon, Ball’s stop in Santa Paula is ready to tickle the senses with four days of immersive displays. They’ll be showcasing hundreds of products from 10 different brands. Here’s a sample of what you can expect: Beefsteak Tomato Atlas (Burpee) The first-ever beefsteak for porches, decks and balconies, allowing customers to pick big, tasty beefsteak flavour right outside their door. The plant's bushy, compact habit easily shoulders bountiful loads of 1lb. tomatoes. Atlas is vigorous but grows neatly in patio containers – modern performance with old-time flavor. The fruit delivers unsurpassed balance of sweetness of acidity. Calibrachoa MiniFamous® Uno Double Pinktastic (Selecta One) The MiniFamous Uno series is an early-to-finish, medium-compact calibrachoa with uniform flower timing across the series. They grow well in quart and gallon containers, but also thrive in hanging baskets as part of Trixi® combos. This series has the most diversity on the market, featuring classic core colours, doubles and stars. Pinktastic features heavily contrasted double flowers and a ball-shaped habit that is half trailing. It was a Fleuroselect winner for 2017. Verbena Firehouse (Ball Flora Plant) This new series is the perfect medium-mounded basket verbena. It has superior garden performance in the heat – less cycling means more colour in the garden for summer! Firehouse launches with nine colours in the series. They have excellent powdery mildew resistance and make great combo components. Dianthus Corona (PanAmerican Seed) Wow 'em with the biggest blooms of any dianthus of this type. Exceptional flower form and a palette of show-stopping colour choices makes Corona a regal choice for cool-season landscapes, gardens and patio planters. It features uniform flowering time and habit. Plant it along with other spring annuals, such as pansies. Coreopsis Double the Sun (Kieft Seed) This bright newcomer is 2 to 3 weeks earlier than Early Sunrise and other comparable varieties in the early cool season. In summer, it finishes one to two weeks earlier. Get this favourite perennial class into the store before any other compact, semi-double yellow coreopsis, and listen as those registers ring. The semi-double, clear golden yellow flowers are large. Ideal for quart and 1-gallon production in spring and summer with 13-hour critical daylength. Spreading Petunia Easy Wave® Red Improved (Wave) Red gets a big-time upgrade for 2019, which moves six eye-catching mixes to the next level. Always a standout in the petunia market, bold and creative Easy Wave lets you bring in a wide array of decorator colours. Offers many upgrades compared to original Red: improved seed quality, a denser plant with more branching, and shorter peduncles for a more controlled, holdable plant structure. Foliage is dark green and the flowers are a deeper, richer red colour that does not wash out. Hydrangea Kanmara® (Ball Ingenuity) Brought to Ball from hydrangea experts at the Hydrangea Breeder Association, Kanmara is supplied from Aldershot Greenhouses, who follow their strict protocol for ideal production, performance, and uniformity. It’s a new generation of hydrangeas with large, majestic blooms in unique shades and elegant foliage. It radiates glamour and is sure to steal the show! Kanmara is ideal for the terrace, doorstep or balcony. The beautiful colours of this pot hydrangea guarantee an unrivaled display until well into late summer or fall. Salvia Sky Blue Marvel (Darwin Perennials) Sky Blue is a light-blue addition to the Marvel family, with the same great habit as Blue and Rose Marvel. The Marvel family has the largest flowers of any Salvia nemorosa on the market. Enjoy the stunning display of colour in spring and summer. Little to no maintenance required in the garden. It is hardy in zones 4 thru 9. Bushel and Berry™ Southern Bluebelle™ (Star® Roses and Plants) This petite, low-water and low-chill blueberry plant displays bright red foliage that turns emerald green as it matures. Perfect for small-space gardens or patios in warmer climates (zones 6–10). Plant grows 2-3' high with a mounded habit. Offers medium-sized berries in the summer with a mild, sweet flavour. Ball is accepting appointments from Saturday, April 14 through Tuesday, April 17. Register online at www.ballhort.com/springtrials Contact Spring Trials concierge Janessa Bender with any questions at 630-588-3187,
With the California Spring Trials (CAST) coming up, Dümmen Orange gave us a small sneak peek of what you can expect at their post.
Just ahead of the California Spring Trials, Proven Winners has announced the debut of its Coral Creations™ Succulents line.
Denver, Colorado – The Pallet Watering Mat from WaterPulse could be a solution to one of the biggest challenges facing growers and retailers – efficiently watering plants on standard pallets.
Eindhoven, NL – The third generation of Philips GreenPower LED Interlighting (Gen 3) has arrived in North America.
For plants to grow optimally, adequate nutrients and water uptake are necessary to maintain plant growth and development. There are two general methods in which water and nutrients move in and out of plants cells: passive and active.
Every cold-climate greenhouse grower experiences it – it’s cold outside, the heat is on, but the relative humidity levels need to come down to prevent disease. The solution? The vents get opened to get rid of that moist air and exchange it for drier air – except the greenhouse loses heat in the process!
Transport within the greenhouse is about to get faster and easier as Berg Hortimotive heads into their last phase of developing a new autonomous harvesting trolley.
In our last article we examined the potential for saving energy by integrating dimmable horticultural LED lighting systems into various feedback-control strategies. This time, we will review background concepts of LED light spectrum and explore how spectral modifications can be leveraged to improve crop production.
What if monitoring temperature controls was automated, and a grain bin itself could warn suppliers of low levels?
Numerous articles have extolled the virtues of modern LED lighting technology for horticultural applications, particularly as a replacement for HPS in greenhouse environments. Various LED technologies have been proven to achieve comparable or better commodity-specific production metrics to HPS in many different greenhouse production scenarios.
When we talk about ‘water management’ in greenhouses, our thoughts typically consider irrigation scheduling, control equipment or maybe simply having enough. At this year’s Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association (LMHIA) Growers Short Course (held simultaneously with the Pacific Agriculture Show in Abbotsford, B.C.), Olaf van Marrewijk of Hagelunie (Leiden, N.L.) gave a different ‘take’.
The horticultural industry is under constant pressure to improve environmental performance while remaining competitive.
Among the many applications of On Robot’s robot grippers, they’re being used to pack herbs at Rosborg Food Holding, one of Denmark’s largest producers of herbs and miniature flowering plants.
It takes a lot of work – and a lot of water — to grow healthy trees and shrubs for Canada’s ornamental plant sector. The industry, which boasts approximately 3,500 nurseries across Canada, uses an estimated 190 million cubic metres of water every year.But new research suggests this is two to three times more water than healthy trees need. And soon a new tool will be available to help nursery managers determine when to turn on–and turn off–the hose.Jared Stoochnoff, a University of Guelph graduate student in the School of Environmental Sciences Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility, is pioneering a new irrigation management strategy designed to reduce water consumption and mitigate the environmental impact of ornamental nursery operations.“Because many nursery irrigation managers lack reliable ways to quantitatively predict a plant’s actual water requirements, they tend to err on the side of caution and overwater,” Stoochnoff says. “This results in unnecessarily high water and fertilizer run-off that negatively impacts local watersheds.”Stoochnoff’s team used high-tech sensor equipment to measure plant water status and quantify crop water stress tolerance thresholds. When they put those irrigation schedules based on actual requirements to the test, they reduced the nursery’s water use by 60 per cent without affecting the total growth or wholesale value of the crop.“It’s not economically feasible to implement the equipment we were using at every nursery in Canada, but by characterizing the relationships between crop water stress levels, weather conditions and species-specific water stress tolerance thresholds, we’re now able to predict optimal irrigation frequency using onsite weather station data,” says Stoochnoff.Stoochnoff wrote a prototype program that used onsite weather station data to predict plant water stress tolerance thresholds. Each time the threshold was reached, the program triggered irrigation and alerted Stoochnoff via text message. He was able to monitor the nursery’s current weather conditions and water use to date, and could even trigger irrigation directly from his cell phone if needed.As a next step, Stoochnoff’s team will develop the program into an app that can be made available to a larger group of nurseries for testing. He says the program will be flexible depending on the nursery’s irrigation preferences.“Once adopted by the nursery sector, this has the potential to conserve millions of litres of water each year and reduce the environmental footprint of ornamental nursery operations,” says Stoochnoff.Financial support was received from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Canadian Nursery Landscape Association, Landscape Ontario, and The Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation. In-kind contributions of materials, labour and field site access were provided by Connon Nurseries, C.B. Vanderkruk Holdings, ICT International and Root Rescue Environmental.This project was funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. For more, visit AgInnovation Ontario
An Alberta Agriculture and Forestry specialist says commercial greenhouses in Alberta should be able to benefit from some new research into construction materials and greenhouse design. “Greenhouses have traditionally been energy intensive operations, but with increasing scrutiny and slowly shrinking margins, producers need to find ways of trimming costs wherever possible,” says Dustin Morton, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
November 2017 – Are skyrocketing land prices preventing you from starting your own farm business? Don’t fret, because crops can be grown in old industrial buildings too – legal crops at that.
Having trouble controlling foxglove aphids in your greenhouse? You’re not alone.
Japanese beetles have been recently spotted in southern Ontario.
Guelph - Ontario’s greenhouse sector has made significant advances in water, nutrient and energy technology to manage the year-round, high-efficiency production of crops like tomatoes, peppers, herbs, berries and a wide variety of green vegetables.
It seems there is never a dull moment in the greenhouse ornamental industry. From transitions to new crops, new export requirements to novel pest problems (I’m talking about YOU, mealybug!) the industry has seen a lot of change lately. And it’s not over yet.
The disease triangle is a concept used by plant pathologists to explain factors necessary for disease to occur. Disease will only occur when a virulent pathogen is present, the plant is susceptible to the pathogen and the environment is conducive for disease. If one of the three components is absent, then disease will not occur. That is why when we think about preventing plant diseases, we should keep the disease triangle in mind. Ask ourselves, which parameters can we control?
While recently watching a television special on the great women of ancient Egypt, I was reminded that depictions of containerized plants, specifically non-native trees being transported in large containers, can be traced back millennia. By the fifth century, containerized plants were common, and some fast-growing herbaceous species were grown in containers for use in festivals.
One of the most predictable and chronic pests of greenhouse crops is the western flower thrip.
Peat moss is a frequent, major component of potting mixes, but harvest of the material is becoming unsustainable. Not only is peat being removed faster than it can re-form, its harvest and use in potting mix contributes to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
December 2017 – Cannabis sativa has been used medically, recreationally and spiritually throughout the world for about five millennia now. In recent times there has been an increasing trend of the public being more accepting towards the use of cannabis as a medical treatment option for various illnesses.
Oct. 11, 2017, Umeå, Sweden – Researchers at Umeå University and Wageningen University have discovered how plants can defend themselves against aphids.
Sept. 28, 2017, St. Albert, Alta. – It’s been a pretty good year for peat harvesting in Canada.
October 2017 – A longtime garden favourite, New Guinea impatiens can be an easy growing option for the greenhouse producer as well, with a few simple tips and techniques. That is true of the newer sun loving varieties like Sun Harmony as well.
Among its nine definitions of ‘variety’, Dictionary.com1 defines this noun as:
Today’s labour market is tight. Profits are tight. As hiring managers, our job has become increasingly difficult. We can talk all day about the challenges we face – the aging labour force, millennials, skilled labour – the fact is, most people are already working. Their families depend on it. The question is, how do we motivate people to work for us?
Last December, Long Island Iced Tea Corporation announced that they were looking into how they might utilize blockchain in their business practices. As part of this announcement, they changed their name to “Long Blockchain Corp”. Shares of the company rose 200 per cent following this news.
Local food, a topic that is, and has been, on the mind’s of many, is a growing industry; however the question of transportation of local food is one that has been left behind, until recently, that is. Over the last few years there has been a resurgence of companies focusing on local food distribution, however Foodshed.io differentiates itself by incorporating technology not only to connect producers and consumers but to enhance efficiency, reliability, flexibility and transparency throughout the entire platform. Their tagline reads: reinventing local food distribution.
We are all aware that retailing is changing and changing rapidly. The key to success is to identify where your business fits into the retail model of the future.
Creative growers and retailers are always looking for new and innovative ways to capture consumer attention. This is particularly true in the historically conservative and stoic world of perennials. No longer are retailers simply lining out an A to Z offering of hardy plants, hoping consumers will be equipped with enough knowledge to select the right plant for the right space.
Pure Flavor credits their partnership with IFCO as one of the keys to providing fresh produce to North America year-round.
This year’s article reporting on the 2017 trial season will look at both the favourites of visitors to the trial gardens as well as other unique entries that performed very well in the trials at Vineland (containers only), Guelph (containers and ground beds), Milton (ground beds) and the Royal Botanical Gardens (ground beds).
Does Ukraine have Garden Centres? This question has been asked of me a number of times over the last few weeks. Last winter I was invited to Ukraine to work with garden centres and present a workshop to the industry. This was my first visit to the country and new experience for me.
As spring production starts, so does a new cycle of tasks.Floor sweeping and bench cleaning may be obvious, but when was the last time you calibrated your EC meter? Or checked the glazing on the greenhouse itself?Have a look at this comprehensive check list put together by Michigan State University. Divided into sections for structures and equipment, plant health and business management, you might find that you’ve been missing something in your routine.Note that some products may not be available to Canadian operations.
Leamington – How does a first-generation family-run greenhouse land its branded products in grocery stores across Canada and much of the U.S.? By perfecting its growing process, and adding a little Zing!.Jordan Kniaziew, vice-president of sales and marketing at Leamington-based Orangeline Farms says since his family entered farming in 2000, they’ve focused on finding the best varieties and seed selections for peppers and other crops.Since 2013, the family has been growing, packing and shipping its own products — including award-winning peppers and greenhouse strawberries – under the Zing! Healthy Foods brand. “We’re always looking at growing products that fit the taste profiles we’re after,” says Kniaziew. “In peppers, our core product, we’ve seen there’s room for growth in the category overall by growing peppers for every meal – in fajitas or stir-fry, scrambled eggs and as snacks.”In addition to common red, yellow and orange peppers, Zing! offers packages of “chef samplers” under specific taste profiles such as sweet and hot peppers, as well lunchbox peppers. The company has won multiple awards for its peppers and other products including a Premier’s Award for Agri-Food innovation Excellence for its greenhouse strawberries.Kniaziew says the family’s initial interest in growing food stemmed from his parents’ first careers in health-related fields. Kniaziew’s father is a local optometrist, his mother is a nurse and his brother studied sciences. The Kniaziews continue to value a healthy, active lifestyle and they see farming as an extension of the health care field.But an interest in growing healthy food and a proven track record of growing quality greenhouse peppers didn’t necessarily mean an easy road for Zing!. Kniaziew says when the company began its branding process, it had to build its customer base from scratch.Today, they boast a handful of growing partners and a staff team that reaches 85 at peak season and Kniaziew says the company continues to grow its family of products with a focus on maximizing production while maintaining its brand’s superior quality.“There’s innovation not just in selecting the right variety, but in finding the best way to grow it, pack it, brand it and deliver it to the consumer,” Kniaziew says. “It’s important the consumer gets a full experience, and that the product isn’t being hidden in the back of the grocery store.”This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
Veteran Ontario cucumber grower Jan VanderHout is up for any challenge in the greenhouse or farm association boardroom.
It’s been over a decade since the first ‘Inside View’. So I thought I’d look back to the first heating and energy article. The sixth ‘View’ (Dec. 2007), noted that “Canada is the 3rd largest energy consumer on the planet – demand is up 21% since 1990”.
When it comes to adding energy curtains (sometimes referred to as thermal blankets) to a greenhouse everyone focuses on energy savings. And certainly energy savings should be a major factor in any greenhouse grower’s decision to purchase energy curtains.
June 17, 2017, Mona, UT – In recognition of leading energy saving efforts, Houweling’s Group was among four companies honored recently as part of Utah’s Energy Efficiency Challenge.
March 16, 2017, Simcoe, Ont. – With the Ontario government’s cap and trade program now in effect, many greenhouse growers in the province are quickly discovering the high cost of fighting climate change. To some, that cost appears unsustainably high.
March April 2017 – Spring is a time of hope and renewed energy with longer days of sunshine and warmer weather. It is also a great time to reflect on how energy costs in the past months have impacted your bottom line, and to work with your team to make your greenhouse more cost-effective for the year to come.
March 10, 2017, Guelph, Ont. – Ontario farmers can finally expect some relief with lower electricity bills on the way.
Nov. 25, 2016, Guelph, Ont. – Affordable energy is a serious issue in Ontario. Rural Ontario is the hardest hit by energy inflation with most businesses, residents and farms relying on electricity, propane or heating oil to support their way of life.
Nov. 7, 2016, Guelph, Ont. – The need for natural gas across rural Ontario is a top priority for the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and rural municipalities.
November 2016 – Greenhouses provide vegetable and flower growers with the ability to control all the inputs needed to yield healthy, plentiful crops. In a greenhouse, growers can tailor the amount of light, CO2, moisture, heat and cold, and other variables in order to improve both the quality and quantity of their production.
June 2016 – If it’s true that each food unit we consume now takes about 10 units of carbon energy to produce, then perhaps the food system is broken. Surely it does not make sense to use more energy to produce something than we can get back out of it in useful food energy. What options do we have?
June 2016 – In our August edition last year we presented an overview of a few of the new alternative energy projects across the country. This year, we have more exciting news to share, along with some recent updates.
Oct. 1, 2015, Moberly Lake, B.C. – The Saulteau First Nations are replacing a plant nursery’s propane heating with a biomass heating system, with funding support of $150,000 from B.C.’s First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.
“The road from the initial idea in 2013 (of a medical marijuana operation) to where we are today … I could write a book on that,” says Edwin Jewell, president and CEO of Canada’s Island Garden (CIG) the only medical marijuana operation in Prince Edward Island.
Vancouver, BC – Ashburton Ventures Inc. has recently announced a zeolite efficacy trial in partnership with InnoTech Alberta.
As a grower, one of your worst nightmares is finding out that you have a potential pest in your grow space. The sight of your hard work looking sickly can be very disheartening to say the least.
The 2017 poinsettia season was much better than even the top sales we saw in 2016. This past year marks three years in a row where poinsettia production, sales and consumer satisfaction has improved. Sales were better for the growers in general, but not great for all retailers – depending on the product sizes, packaging, displays and sales timing. And consumer satisfaction depends on which product they ended up with.
Overall, 2017 was a pretty good year for Ontario’s spring flower crops in terms of pests. Insects like western flower thrips were fairly low (no heavy fly-ins like in 2016) and more severe diseases were scarce. Here are some tips for how we can keep 2018 going in the same direction.
Ball Horticultural Company is thrilled to announce a breakthrough years in the making. Through a collaborative effort with KeyGene, both companies are pleased to announce the successful sequencing and assembly of the Impatiens walleriana genome. This first-of-its-kind project creates a highly accurate tool for breeders looking to provide new solutions to the industry in Impatiens.“Genome sequencing and assembly not only provides a more efficient approach to breeding and plant trait identification, but it provides a deeper understanding of our products and their ultimate potential in the marketplace,” says Matt Mouw Chief Technology Officer for Ball Horticultural Company.Over the course of this project, Ball and KeyGene achieved 100x coverage using long read sequencing technology, which has already led their breeding teams to better utilize significant key plant genes, specifically, genes that confer high resistance to Impatiens Downy Mildew (IDM). The disease has severely impacted global sales of I. walleriana since 2008. By utilizing this new resource of high resistance, along with these newly available genomics tools, breeding companies like PanAmerican Seed are closer than ever to producing Impatiens with high resistance to IDM.While PanAmerican Seed has worked to address IDM solutions over the past five years, the impatiens genome project took more than two years to complete. It included disciplines from many areas of the industry, including pathologists, breeders, seed technologists, product development teams, and production.According to Mouw, Ball Horticultural Company has committed to a significant investment in the area of advanced plant technology, with the goal to deliver products, services and solutions to the industry. “This is the first in what will promise to be a pipeline of opportunities in seed and vegetative products that wouldn’t before have been possible.”
The talk of the town at this year’s Canadian Greenhouse Conference was, you guessed it, marijuana. Not shady back-of-hall cloakroom conversations, but openly in the show aisles, on the bus during the tours and over dinner. One of the tour stops was even to a production facility: “… Aphria, the former Leamington flower grower that transformed its flower greenhouses into a state-of-the-art regulated medical marijuana production facility.”1
November 2017 – Here in southwestern Ontario, we have just experienced a wetter than usual summer, with cooler than average temperatures especially at night. The continuously rainy days and nights and the cooler temperatures put the plants in the Sawaya Garden Trials through new Mother Nature stress or benefit tests, depending on the varieties.
November 2017 – It’s difficult to think of a more diverse, interesting and misunderstood category of plants in the horticultural industry than perennials. A colleague once said that “all plants are annuals somewhere and perennials somewhere else.” Although she oversimplified this just a bit, the point was well taken.
Oct. 27, 2017, Smiths Falls,Ont. – Tweed Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corporation, and DNA Holding LLC have renewed and expanded their partnership through to October 2022.
Oct. 11, 2017, Smiths Falls, Ont. – British Columbia will soon be home to a 1.3-million-square-foot greenhouse cannabis operation.
Oct. 10, 2017, Vaughan, Ont. – CannTrust Holdings Inc. has received its Health Canada cultivation licence under the ACMPR for its completed 250,000-square-foot Phase 1 redevelopment of its 430,000 square foot Niagara greenhouse facility.
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Sawaya Garden TrialsThu Jul 26, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
PPA Symposium 2018Mon Jul 30, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
ASHS Conference 2018Tue Jul 31, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
IGC 2018Tue Aug 14, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
FarWest Show 2018Wed Aug 22, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Colours of the Summer Open HouseWed Aug 22, 2018 @ 1:00PM - 03:00PM