This is the 19th year of the Sawaya Garden Trials, and every year I learn something new. Members of a series (families) can sometimes have the same performance but different colours. Other times, the families are only a collection of different colours of a genus under a certain commercial name, which is similar to a family of adopted kids. It is important to know if a genus is a true family or not for the following reasons:
As Canada plunges into shorter days and longer nights, growers may be looking to try new lighting options for the new year. Here are some new and notable recommendations by key players in the horticultural lighting market.
At the California Spring Trials earlier this year, several new perennial varieties leapt out at me. In particular, I looked for varieties with unusual or extended bloom periods to lengthen their life on the greenhouse bench.
Dramm has recently introduced their Telescoping Handi-Reach Handles, which extend from 50” to 80” to reach further, but are still compact enough to ship and store.
There are few topics that interest the buying public as much as food. At plant trials, open house attendees are always keen to test out the latest hot pepper. Even the hippest young male is bound to feel compelled to show his worthiness by throwing caution to the wind and chomping down on a pepper heedless of warnings.
SuffOil-X horticultural spray oil emulsion is now registered for use in Canada. The mineral oil-based product is used for the control of insects, mites and fungi - including powdery mildew - in a broad range of greenhouse, nursery and vegetable crops. It works by suffocating eggs, larvae, nymphs, adult soft-bodied insects and mites.
Greenhouse growers looking to enter the organic market may be interested to find that, among a list of requirements, substrate volume is mandated as well.
Nova fungicide by Dow AgroSciences has been approved for use against powdery mildew in greenhouse eggplant in Canada.
Earlier this year, Signify introduced their Philips GreenPower LED toplighting compact to the European market which has since been made available in Canada and the United States.
Proven Winners is entering the pottery market by adding the full line of Michael Carr Designs Pottery, including the new AquaPots line of luxury grade, self-watering containers, to its brand family.
Rockwool supplier Grodan has brought their e-Gro software platform to the North American market.
All-America Selections has announced the first winners from their three-winter Herbaceous Perennial Trial: Echinacea Sombrero Baja Burgundy and Rudbeckia American Gold Rush.
From promoting root growth in ornamentals to increasing fresh weight in lettuce, applying a selective spectrum of supplemental light seems to be a gamechanger.
Canadian cucumbers are a hot commodity. Canada is the world’s fourth largest cucumber exporter with a farmgate value of cucumber production at roughly $326 million in 2014.
This is the time of year to begin planning for next year’s greenhouse building projects. While many growers are eager to plan new construction projects and expand, sometimes the best dollar value is achieved by retrofitting and modernizing their existing greenhouse structures.
Plants are living, breathing and producing organisms. Just like any other living creature, they require nutrients with which they maintain their physiological processes and continue to develop.
The sun can bring 800 Watts per m2 inside a greenhouse. That is a huge amount of energy, especially considering the total size of greenhouses nowadays. For a 10-ha greenhouse, that equates to 80,000 kW! However, only two per cent is converted by the crop canopy for growth, the other 98 per cent will leave the greenhouse. In that sense, plant production is not very energy efficient.
From stoplights to interior illumination, artificial electric lighting is technology that we rely on in our daily lives to help us at work, at home, and everywhere in between. In greenhouse horticulture, we increasingly depend on it for production purposes – to help crops grow on a precise schedule, throughout the year and in spite of varying natural light levels.
Horticultural lighting applications have increased exponentially over the past few years.
There are three characteristics of light you should consider when designing the ideal light environment for your crops: light quality, light quantity and light duration.
The first two floors of 1400 Rue Antonio Barbeau in Montreal look like they belong on any other low-density commercial building – blocky, covered in mottled brown brick and windows gazing into a beige interior. Just over the lip of its roof, though, peeks long walls made of glass and metal, and inside them, rows of vegetables.
With simple automation during propagation, a grower could experience a 25 per cent gain in production. Automating the full process could lead to 50, 60 or 70 per cent gain in efficiency. So what's the main barrier to adopting new automation machinery? Grower acceptance, says Jack Ford of Agrinomix.
What exactly is 'next generation' growing? Pieter Kwakernaak of Hoogendoorn explains how the three plant balances - water, assimilate and energy - should dictate how production practices are carried out in the greenhouse.
"Think about what you're trying to achieve during plant propagation," says Dr. Will Healy of Ball Hort. The goal is to put roots on a plant and try to grow healthy, green leaves. It all comes down to plant moisture and nutrition. But don't water too much! According to Healy, a grower's number one job is to dry out the plants.
“Can we grow plants in pure biochar?” That was the question Lethbridge College researcher, Nick Savidov set out to answer nearly twenty years ago, conducting one of the first extensive studies to test biochar as a growing medium rather than a mere component of it.
When plants come under attack from invading bacteria, viruses or fungi, they mount a two-pronged response, producing both offensive chemicals to kill invaders and defensive chemicals to prevent infestations from spreading. Now, scientists at Stanford have used a type of chemical vaccine to switch on this plant defense system to prevent localized infections from becoming contagions, a possible first step toward helping harvests ward off infections.
When it comes to root zone management, water and nutrients most likely come to mind, but there’s one component which doesn’t receive nearly as much attention.
Pests are perennial problems in the greenhouse, but as technology continues to evolve, so do various ways of eradicating pests.
The tale of the European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis, is nothing short of interesting. As the name suggests, ECB is a pest of corn and is present in all major corn growing regions in North America and Europe.
The control of pests is essential for greenhouse growers. Most implement an integrated pest management (IPM) program, incorporating both biological and chemical pesticide use.
For greenhouse operators, managing crop pests can be both time-consuming and costly, with expenses ranging from thousands to millions of dollars annually. In particular, the need to apply specialist biocontrol agents on a regular basis just to manage a couple of targeted pest species has growers yearning for more cost-effective alternatives.
Mites don’t have the best reputation when it comes to the general public but growers pay thousands of dollars every year to get them into their greenhouses. In fact, most of the greenhouse crops grown in Canada are produced with the help of these very small organisms.
It’s been almost five years since the cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) was first reported in Greenhouse Canada, but that doesn’t mean growers should be any less vigilant.
Pest management is a critical part of any commercial greenhouse. Despite its importance, tracking its delivery and progress can still be a challenge.
We all know what they say about assumptions. When diagnosing crops with little tolerance for damage, it’s important not to let preconceived notions lead you down the wrong path. Here are some common mistakes to avoid making when diagnosing insect and disease issues in ornamentals.
If you started out using biological control for whitefly in your poinsettia crop this year, you’ve now reached a crucial tipping point. Based on the size of your Bemisia whitefly population in mid-late September, your populations could end up being too high by November to effectively bring under control. Ultimately, this could affect sales.
When managing employees in a commercial greenhouse, always think of the “3 C’s”: communication, coordination and completion.
The greenhouse sector in Ontario is a robust industry. Covering 14.4 million square metres of land and employing over 16,000 workers, these agriculture operations are responsible for some of the tastiest fruit and vegetables on consumer tables, and the prettiest flowers and plants.Unfortunately, greenhouse and other agriculture workers are at great risk; experiencing higher lost-time injury rates than any other Schedule 1 sector over the last six years.
With new technology being introduced to almost every aspect of our lives, it is not surprising that farming continues to become more technologically advanced as well.
Canada’s greenhouse vegetable sector faces a great many challenges, including labour regulations and minimum wage requirements, availability of labour, and how to manage future human resource needs in conjunction with technological development.
Homes are becoming smaller, lifestyles are busier, and the number of locations for purchasing plants and their associated products have increased. Shoppers can purchase their plant products almost anywhere, including online shops, big box stores, niche urban plant shops, and traditional independent garden centres (IGC).
Hippocrates, the Greek physician known as the father of medicine, once said “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” This timeless wisdom encourages consumers to cut back on processed foods and revert to whole food diets rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. But to get to this point, consumers must be able to trust their food.
Introduced earlier this year, new rules for agricultural environmental management were put in place for all agricultural operators in British Columbia, including greenhouse growers.
As a new and more ethnically diverse wave of Canadian consumers set up households, their plant purchasing habits are causing shifts in the floriculture sector.
Halfway through another strong growing season in Ontario, a seasonal labour program created more than half a century ago continues to prove its worth and puts fresh, local food on dinner tables across the province.
Whether it’s fashion, food products, gardening or other aspects of life, consumer tastes change. To find out what’s hot this year, what will be in demand for the next, and most importantly, how to best sell it, we checked in with some leading experts from coast to coast.
“I started working part-time for Harster Greenhouses when I was about 15 years old,” says Adrian Kemper. His first summer was spent painting heating pipes. From there, he went on to tackle numerous different roles, ranging from order processing to greenhouse building.
Although skilled tax lawyers may dispute the second half of Mark Twain’s famous claim that “the only two certainties in life are death and taxes,” the death part is hard to avoid. The urgency of succession planning for business owners is particularly acute, as declining health might require others to run the business long before the passing of the founder.
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.
EZ Grow Farms has grown just about every type of vegetable and fruit known to Ontario. A family-owned operation run by Darryl Zamecnik, his wife Helen and his brother Jarrod for the past 48 years, they added a new crop when Darryl’s son Dusty joined the business.
As a bedding plant grower, you want to grow the item that is most profitable. Unfortunately, demand for that item could be limited. We only can grow items that are in demand and work to make them as profitable as possible.
Arable soil scarcity, climate change and higher recurrence of extreme weather events are prompting a shift from outdoor to indoor farming, which has eco-sustainable methods and a lower environmental impact.
Crop LED lighting provider, Fluence Bioengineering (Fluence), has announced its partnership with Ontario-based organic licensed cannabis producer The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD).
Cloudy and rainy weather during the past months has resulted in many serious outbreaks of Botrytis grey mold in lettuce and in many other crops. This ubiquitous fungus readily attacks lettuce because of the moist, enclosed microclimate created in the lettuce head. If remedial measures are not taken at the first sign of infection, serious crop losses can occur.
Canadian licensed producer Zenabis has received a cultivation licence from Health Canada for the first portion of their operation in Langley, B.C., growing their annual cultivation capacity by more than 30 per cent.This is expected to increase their operation’s capacity from 32,900 kg to 42,800 kg of dried cannabis.
The Ohio State University cultivar trials were on display once again, coinciding with annual conference and tradeshow Cultivate'19.
Poinsettia don't have many problems, note OMAFRA floriculture specialists Dr. Sarah Jandricic and Dr. Chevonne Dayboll, but when issues arise, they can hit a crop fast and hard.
The 2019 collection of Exceptionnelles highlights vivid plants that will appeal to all generations of consumers. Some attract pollinators and hummingbirds, while others boast spectacular flowers or foliage. Some will add colour to shaded areas and others will brighten flower boxes or add volume to municipal flower beds.
In March of this year I had the opportunity to travel from LA to San Francisco on a Ball-sponsored bus that was inhabited primarily by Canadian sales staff and buyers.
From growing indoor or outdoor to key pitfalls in cannabis propagation, Bill MacDonald of Niagara College talks cannabis production. How similar is it to growing other horticultural crops?
Tulips are a sure sign of spring, and for the Dutch people and their descendants, this could not be more true.
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Deloitte acquires Cannabis ComplianceDeloitte has acquired Mississauga-based Cannabis Compliance Inc. (CCI).
Dehumidification technology reduces greenhouse energy consumptionHeat loss is a significant problem for greenhouse growers during…
Cost-share funding intake announced for OntarioThe next intake for the Canadian Agricultural Partnership cost-share funding…
CCFI welcomes five new board membersThe Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) has appointed five…
Landscape Ontario CongressTue Jan 07, 2020
Tropical Plant International ExpoWed Jan 22, 2020
Guelph Organic ConferenceThu Jan 23, 2020
IPM EssenTue Jan 28, 2020