Microgreens grower pushes culinary and sustainability limits

Microgreens grower pushes culinary and sustainability limits

Imagine popping a tiny green seedling into your mouth. You’re pretty sure you know what it’s going to taste like. But then your taste buds are hit with a completely unexpected flavour that reminds you of spicy horseradish.

Producing grasses for cut flower use

Producing grasses for cut flower use

When you think of ornamental grasses, you may think of lush landscapes or creative containers. But today’s newer cultivars, and even some of the species, make a great addition to cut bouquets and arrangements. With a bit of planning and production scheduling, ornamental grasses can be a productive addition to cut flower greenhouses.

Keeping mildew off your basil

Keeping mildew off your basil

Basil downy mildew is a relatively new disease of both field and greenhouse basil in Ontario.

Starting young in the cannabis nursery game

Starting young in the cannabis nursery game

Ian Davidson doesn’t mince words when talking about opportunities in the cannabis nursery game right now.

Tomato virus info sessions announced

Tomato virus info sessions announced

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs will be holding four free information sessions on the tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV/TBRFV) for growers and agribusinesses.

Dümmen Orange has expanded Basewell to include their top-selling perennial varieties, opening up the technology to perennial growers across North America.
Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) recently launched new Philips GreenPower LED toplighting module in Canada, with light efficacy of up to 3.0 µmol/J and an output of 800 µmol/s.
Starter-plant supplier Emerald Coast Growers has released the latest version of its trend-tracking new variety Resource Guide.
A new weight-based watering system could help growers and retailers ensure uniformity of soil moisture across their hanging baskets.
Smithers-Oasis has recently launched a new retail pack of its Oasis® Horticubes growing media.
The California Spring Trials (CAST) were started by Glenn Goldsmith in 1967 which was for the purpose of educating growers of their breeding programs and their commitment to horticulture, and then other breeders started to join in the event to include almost every horticultural breeder distributor. The name evolved from the ‘California pack trials’ to now ‘California Spring Trials’ since the packs are a very small percentage of the industry.
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:
There’s something different about the glass at Freeman Herbs – it’s pink.
With so many other tasks requiring attention, modern greenhouses are beginning to integrate automated systems for crop moisture assessment.
What is plant empowerment? Typically, traditional plant production methods are based on a mixture of blueprints, best practices, common knowledge of plant physiology, as well as the ‘green fingers’ and ‘emotional perception’ of growers. This approach has been successful, but also has several limitations.
How wet is ‘wet’, and how dry is ‘dry’?At the Green Industry Show in Edmonton last year, Dr. Will Healy, senior technical and research manager at Ball Horticultural Company, spoke about a method to describe soil wetness using Levels 1 through 5:
What if someone told you that plant physiology and physics could change the way you think about greenhouse climate control?
The frigid temperatures that accompany a Canadian winter are hardly a surprise, but for a grower, the high energy costs associated with operating a greenhouse through the cold weather can be shocking. As the temperature drops, energy use climbs, and with temperatures falling well below freezing, heating a greenhouse to maintain an ideal crop environment can be an incredibly costly endeavor.
Winter months in the greenhouse are a good time to see where your operation could be more efficient to save on energy, especially heating bills. Now’s the time to check out what is and isn’t working and what you might like to change for next season.
In our October article, we discussed how we can optimize lighting conditions for plant growth, how to measure light, the optimum lighting requirements for various groups of plants and how to calculate the deficit. Now that we are familiar with lighting basics, let us look into the spectral composition of light.
Winner of the 2018 GreenTech Innovation Award, Visser Horti Systems’ AutoStix is an open source transplanting system. Not only does it automate the labour-intensive and often slow process of sticking cuttings, it uses biodegradable strips to keep things environmentally friendly.
Andrew Mans initially installed high pressure sodium (HPS) lights in the greenhouse, but quickly found that they had a high failure rate.
Starting a decade ago, researchers focused on the potential of LED (light-emitting diode) lighting for greenhouse horticultural crops, whether ornamental or vegetable. Usually, high pressure sodium lamps (HPS) are the most used in the greenhouse industry around the world.
In this article, we will focus on how to plan and execute a structured irrigation strategy, thus optimizing the rootzone, and consequently decreasing plant stress and potentially increasing yields.
Basil downy mildew is a relatively new disease of both field and greenhouse basil in Ontario. The disease requires diligent management in the greenhouse. Diseased plants that enter from the field or garden can contribute to epidemics if weather conditions permit. The incidence of diseased plants in retail locations has decreased in the past few years due to better management in greenhouses.
I am sure you know of IPM, which stands for Integrated Pest Management, and you have likely been practising this in your operation for years with success. However, have you heard of IRM?
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of an URMULE (user requested minor use label expansion) registration for Milstop foliar fungicide for suppression of powdery mildew on field and greenhouse mint in Canada.
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of URMULE (user requested minor use label expansion) registrations for Confine, Rampart and Phostrol Fungicides for suppression of downy mildew and pythium root rot on greenhouse-grown basil in Canada.
It has been four years since we last surveyed floriculture growers, and in that time, there have been some big changes in the way Canadian growers are using biocontrol.
Pythium species are fungal-like organisms (Oomycetes), commonly referred to as water molds, which naturally exist in soil and water as saprophytes, feeding on organic matter. Some Pythium species can cause serious diseases on greenhouse vegetable crops resulting in significant crop losses.
Horticultural crops in Canada, although grown on a smaller acreage than field crops, are of increasing importance to the agricultural economy. Greenhouse tomato production in Ontario contributes over $354 million annually, but insect and spider mite pests reduce the yield of the tomato crop and are the target of many management programs.
From October 4, 2017 to January 8, 2018, a research project was conducted at the Niagara College, Niagara-on-the-Lake greenhouse to evaluate the efficacy of Silamol, a silicon product designed to help reduce the negative impact of biotic and abiotic stress in plants.
As a grower, it’s important to think about ways in which your biocontrol programs can be strengthened. There is an increasing number of biopesticides and a staggering array of biostimulants available on the market.
There is increasing interest in Canada and globally in improving nutrient management in floricultural operations. Typically, this involves the constant delivery of lower levels of nutrients during the crop cycle, resulting in the production of plants with quality acceptable to both growers and consumers.
Greenhouse production in Canada is growing and evolving. Tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers have traditionally been the primary crops grown in Canadian vegetable greenhouses, while the floriculture sector has been producing a wide range of potted plants, bedding plants and cut flowers.
The human eye feeds 10 million bits per second to the brain, but when workers walk a greenhouse to check plants there’s only so much info they can take in, let alone absorb. Often, they’ll conduct spot checks and make decisions based on what they see.
Industry expansion south of the border seems to have slowed for some Canadian greenhouse operators, but others are still building both domestically and internationally.
The longer someone interacts with plant material, the more likely they are to spend money, says Dr. Bridget Behe, professor of horticulture at Michigan State University. But she’s not talking hours or minutes – they’re mere seconds.
Social media and user-generated content are playing a huge role in the way that businesses market their goods and services. This shouldn’t be any different for your garden centre.
Trialing new varieties can serve many purposes.Not only can they show off container and bedding performance in different climates, they can also be used to gauge public interest and identify emerging trends. This past year was no exception. The climate from June to August 2018 was warmer and drier than normal, but at the same time was plagued with random intense rain events that affected bloom performance for some of the annuals.
As garden centre owners and seasonal edible growers, our window to capitalize on sales is limited to just a few short months each year. But, it doesn’t have to be. With the proper products and a little marketing, you can triple your edible sales and increase repeat customer traffic throughout the year.
What could be better than savouring smoked lake trout in cracked mustard dressing at a table surrounded by row upon row of deep pink and warm orange gerberas? Add a lounge singer, a bar full of local drinks, enthusiastic company and flower crowns; you have a night to remember.
As 2019 becomes the new season, a number of garden trend reports have been released, advising garden retailers on what they need in their marketing strategies for the year. As you would expect, the millennial market is foremost in many people’s minds.
One word to sum up the ‘state of the industry’. Precarious? Bewildering? Exciting? Such a ‘review’ is, of course, a momentary snap-shot, and no doubt by the time this is in print, things may have changed. For now however, a number of critical issues for the greenhouse industry (veg, cut flowers, bedding, nursery, potted crops) came to mind. It was a long list, so I canvassed the thoughts of BC industry leaders to identify priorities.
In part I of this state-of-the-industry column, we looked at the most pressing critical issues affecting the greenhouse sector. The catastrophic effects of the ruptured gas pipeline in northern BC, continuing effects of the shift of the glasshouse landscape as it accommodates legal recreational cannabis production, labour availability, recruiting and costs, construction and planning bottlenecks, and the perennial topics of politics, globalization and international pests.
2018 was a year of expected – and unexpected – change. Labour and input costs continued to rise, carbon levies in the works, and the shortage of experienced labour continued. Cannabis and the renegotiation of the North American free trade agreement left large periods of uncertainty.
So, you own a greenhouse and things have been going well. You know you need more space to grow, but you are unsure of how to proceed. Do you expand the existing operation or do you sell and buy another?
Rapid innovation in machinery and computer technology have lowered barriers to entry within automation. New cutting-edge tools, from robots to artificial intelligence (AI), capable of executing complex tasks are increasingly available—and affordable. Of particular significance is that fundamental components of automation technologies are now easier to customize.
University of Windsor researchers have teamed with local produce growers to improve greenhouse energy efficiency and decrease operating costs.
Canadian greenhouses are expecting a harsh winter in terms of energy. Rates have been steadily rising for years, but the explosion of the Enbridge natural gas pipeline in British Columbia may be the final straw, as B.C. growers are now facing a shortage of up to 50 per cent during the coming winter months.
Is cogeneration the latest innovation for greenhouse growers or just a passing fad? It’s understandable why growers are assessing the potential.
With dark, short days in winter months, growing in Canada isn’t easy – even in controlled environments like greenhouses. To keep providing markets with high-quality produce, supplemental lighting is top of mind for many greenhouse vegetable producers.
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.
When you think of ornamental grasses, you may think of lush landscapes or creative containers. But today’s newer cultivars, and even some of the species, make a great addition to cut bouquets and arrangements. With a bit of planning and production scheduling, ornamental grasses can be a productive addition to cut flower greenhouses.
Imagine popping a tiny green seedling into your mouth. You’re pretty sure you know what it’s going to taste like. But then your taste buds are hit with a completely unexpected flavour that reminds you of spicy horseradish.
Ian Davidson doesn’t mince words when talking about opportunities in the cannabis nursery game right now. “They’re profound,” says the 15-year industry vet. “There are cannabis specialists in extraction, in packaging, in marketing, you name it, but show me a single operating cannabis nursery in Canada.”
As global demand for medicinal cannabis continues to increase, PharmaCielo Ltd. is poised to become an international leader after receiving approval on February 6th and 19th in Colombia for the listing of 20 proprietary and unique tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) strains with the national cultivar registry.The Canadian-headquartered company will now be able to produce—through its Colombian subsidiary—Colombia’s only CBD-dominant strain that meets World Health Organization (WHO) purity standards. The approval gives PharmaCielo a competitive advantage as the sole licensed producer of non-psychoactive strains in Colombia. A fully balanced THC/CBD strain was also approved, among the many others.Federico Cock-Correa, President and CEO of PharmaCielo Colombia Holdings S.A.S., says the company can now proceed to commercial registration, production and sale of these strains within Colombia, as well as for export to global markets.“Among those approved is an historic and unique CBD-dominant strain approved for commercial registration and sourced from the Colombian landrace strains held within our fuente semillera (a licensed seed or germplasm bank authorized by the Colombian government), the first and only one of its kind registered in Colombia,” Cock-Correa noted.The commercial value of this 20:1 CBD primary strain is of “particular significance with the recent clarification by the WHO that medicinal CBD is not regulated under international convention,” says Dr. Delon Human, PharmaCielo’s global head of health and innovation.“The intensity of the CBD strain profile allows us to efficiently fulfill strong global demand for pure CBD medicinal cannabis oil extracts, which we expect to dramatically increase over the next several years for this strain, as it meets both market and import requirements,” adds Dr. Human.Since its founding, PharmaCielo has focused on ethical and sustainable processing and supplying of all natural, medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts and related products to large channel distributors.In January this year, the company established a joint venture with Mino Labs to bring medicinal quality cannabis oil to Mexico. The company also went public in recent months on the Toronto Stock Venture Exchange (TSX Venture) through its Canadian parent company.
Looking at these photos, do you know what happened to these cucumber and tomato plants? Growers were expecting a compact and strong plant, but within a short span of a few days, the plants were already touching the wire, internodes were unusually elongated, and weak sets of leaves developed, looking thin, misshapen and not fully expanded. The first cluster of tomatoes appeared five feet on the stem.
This is the first time in 12 years that I have been called to see if any growers have poinsettias for sale. I had to look hard to find some that fit the requirements. It was great that production quantities were matching, or were slightly under sales.
Each year, a few vegetables are entered into the University of Guelph’s Vineland container trials as candidates for vegetables in small urban spaces. This edible plant category attracted attention at the trials, not only from the public, but from culinary professionals as well. Here are some of the highlights from this past season.
Now that recreational marijuana is legal across Canada, the need for product has increased sharply. Based on corporate statements, the 10 largest cannabis producers in the country are planning to churn out 1.8 million kilograms worth of the plant by 2020.
Vineland has been identifying methods and creating new technologies to help tree propagators grow seedlings with better root quality.
Dalotia coriara, is a native species of soil-dwelling rove beetles. They are light to dark brown in colour; adults are three to four millimetres long and are slender with short wing covers. An adult female lays 90 eggs in its average life span of 50 days.
As everyone in Canada is aware by now, recreational cannabis has become legal. But the full effects of legalization on the Canadian greenhouse flower and vegetable industry remains to be seen.
Easter lily production has declined in the last few years but it is still one of the top five potted crops in terms of sales. 10 million Easter lily bulbs were shipped this past season. In my opinion, the major drop in sales is due to the extra cost of production with minimal increase in selling price.

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