Fan favourites emerge from trials

Fan favourites emerge from trials

This year’s article reporting on the 2017 trial season

Five Advantages of Energy Curtains Not to Miss

Five Advantages of Energy Curtains Not to Miss

When it comes to adding energy curtains (sometimes referred to as thermal blankets)

Horticulture Facing Many New Challenges

Horticulture Facing Many New Challenges

Veteran Ontario cucumber grower Jan VanderHout is up for any challenge

Getting spring crop off to a good start

Getting spring crop off to a good start

Overall, 2017 was a pretty good year for Ontario’s spring flower crops in terms of pests.

Labour Supply and Rising Costs Continuing Challenges for Growers

Labour Supply and Rising Costs Continuing Challenges for Growers

Labour issues, both in availability and rising costs, were cited by all the experts we surveyed for this year’s State Of The Industry report.

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.
Jan. 19, 2018, Antioch, CA – We’ve all been there. Wrestling with the garden hose that likes to twist and kink, or even worse, rupture at the most inopportune time. Taking this up to task, Stanley recently launched the DuraflexPro Expanding Garden Hose. It boasts 2-ply construction, rubber reinforcement and an elastic nylon sleeve to lessen the risk of rupture, withstanding up to 300 PSI. Plus, its outer layer is designed to be UV-resistant and crumple-free. The hose’s compact, lightweight design makes it easy to store and use. Available in 25, 50, 75 and 100 ft. lengths, it quickly expands to twice its size when in use. Check out its patented aluminum couplings. They can be reattached after the damaged end is removed. For more, visit stanleygardenproducts.com
A proven and innovative tree propagation system is helping growers increase their profitability by producing healthier, more beautiful trees. Launched at the Landscape Ontario Congress, RootSmart is an evidence-based propagation system that promotes an ideal root structure by preventing root girdling at the propagation stage.Root girdling is a well-known and costly problem in the horticulture industry. Research has shown that it starts during propagation and can’t be reversed as a tree matures. Over time, roots circle each other and the trunk, choking and killing the tree.RootSmart prevents girdling in the first stages of root growth – when it counts. Developed in partnership between Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and A.M.A., RootSmart provides growers with a proven solution to improve propagation practices.“Root girdling is a real problem, and growers are starting to see an increased focus on examining root structures in the buying process. We were determined to find a solution that would help growers become better stewards of their products,” says Rick Bradt, Co-owner andManaging Director of A.M.A. “RootSmart is the game-changer our industry has been waiting for, and we are proud to bring it to market in partnership with Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.”As a wall-less, bottomless tray, RootSmart is uniquely designed to encourage lateral root growth without obstruction from growing media. As the roots come into contact with the air outside of the tray, they naturally prune themselves, allowing continued growth in a healthy, lateral direction. By ensuring better quality roots, RootSmart delivers significant benefits for fruit, nut, and ornamental tree growers that result in better products for end consumers:• Reduced mortality rate• Increased transplant success• Improved crop uniformity• Shorter crop cycles• Reduced culls• Reduced labour costs• Healthier, more beautiful trees“RootSmart was co-designed with growers, for growers,” says Dr. Darby McGrath, Research Scientist at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. “After five years consulting with industry leaders and studying the effects of existing propagation trays, we designed a product that solves the problem of root girdling using proven science. We are thrilled to see it come to life with support and leadership from the A.M.A. team.”A.M.A. holds the exclusive production and marketing licence to RootSmartTM, and is now available to growers across North America. Learn more at rootsmart.com.
Aug. 14, 2017, Sarasota, FL – The new dual electric or solar-powered Multiple Use Tow Tractor by ScoringAg can handle a variety of duties in the greenhouse and nursery industries.
Aug, 14, 2017, Charlotte, NC – Svensson has introduced a new collection of decorative climate screens which combine function and aesthetics, making for an ideal combination for garden centers and others alike.
June 6, 2017 – Exsilio, a Finnish enterprise, has developed a high-tech solution for cultivating salad and herbs, among other crops, in urban environments.
July 2017 – For a well-behaved trailing coleus, look no further than Great Falls. Developed by D<15>mmen Orange for its controlled trailing habit, this coleus is remarkably versatile in application.
July 2017 – Improving on an old favourite for combinations, Proven Winners has amped up the flower size and improved the floral quality of this pure white Superbells with a yellow “yolk” centre.
July 2017 – It’s tough to improve on one of the most well-known and longest running annual varieties in our lineup, but we’ve done it this year with ‘Golden Butterfly’ Argyranthemum frutescens, which replaces ‘Butterfly.’
July 2017 – The Conga series from Ball FloraPlant has the most colours of any compact calibrachoa on the market. For 2018 retail sales there are nine new and improved colours to complete the lineup for easy-to-produce quarts and colour bowls.
August 2017 – Gardeners will enjoy lots of tasty beefsteak tomatoes in clusters of three to seven fruit. ‘Oh Happy Day’ has an incredible disease-resistance package that resists early blight, late blight, verticillium and fusarium.
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.
October 2017 – Preparation for painting my home office/study recently required a serious clearing out, and I undertook a somewhat enforced go-through of my filing cabinet. You know the feeling. (If you don’t, do it sometime, it’s pretty liberating. But be warned, it will take you much longer than you think!) Three drawers packed tight with technical crop information from the late ’80s onwards. (Now you see why it was liberating.)
October 2017 – Lighting research is very exciting these days, with manipulation of LED placement and wavelength both possible. We checked with three leading greenhouse lighting researchers to hear about their newest studies – some ongoing and some recently completed, some new and some building on previous studies.
October 2017 – Growing vegetable crops in winter in Canada is now an established practice in the sense that we know how many lights should be installed and how much light can be delivered to plants. Good information is available on a number of micromoles needed for leafy and fruiting crops and what is a good Daily Light Integral (DLI). With the arrival of LED lights we heard the term “top lights” and “inter-light.”
OCTOBER 2017 – There’s been a lot of talk about light-emitting diode fixtures (LEDs) in the greenhouse industry over the last few years. They are often marketed as the solution to our electricity woes with the added benefit of spectrum control for specific crops.
October 2017 – The following are highlights of a presentation made during a research conference hosted by Flowers Canada Ontario earlier this year.
Lights are one of the most important aspects of a greenhouse energy mix. Lighting extends the growing season to overcome seasonal changes that limit production and revenue. Lighting must be managed carefully to ensure the benefits are not offset by increased power costs.
Aug. 1, 2017, Eindhoven, the Netherlands – Philips Lighting, a global leader in lighting, has signed a partnership agreement with BWI Grower Technical Sales.
July 31, 2017, Emeryville, CA – LumiGrow Inc., a leading horticultural lighting company, has released its LED Growers’ Guide for Vine Crops.
July 26, 2017, Manitowoc, WI – For the last several years, Dramm has offered an online forum to allow customers to post questions and review prior questions and answers for any of our products.
June 12, 2017, St. Catharines, Ont. – Looking for the latest information on ornamental crop lighting, water treatment systems, labour management strategies and marketing to millenials?
May 26, 2017, Quebec City – CO2 Solutions Inc., a leader in the field of enzyme-enabled carbon capture technology, has updated progress at the its first commercial project with Fibrek General Partnership, a subsidiary of Resolute Forest Products Inc., and Serres Toundra Inc.
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.
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.
October 2017 – This is the last part in a six-part series of articles on thrips (and other pests) integrated pest management, where we provide practical application tips and tricks, information on new technologies and how it all fits within an overall IPM program. Each article is accompanied by a short video demonstrating a technique or principle.
October 2017 – The pepper weevil has become a bigger nightmare for pepper growers in Leamington area. The swarming of pepper weevil in the Leamington area might be a result of the milder winters and more year-round greenhouse production, inter-planting schemes and lack of attention on greenhouse cleaning procedures that enhance the survivorship of pepper weevil. Ignoring just one adult weevil is a reason to take out an entire crop.
September 2017 – Ontario has long been a world leader in the adoption of biocontrols in floriculture crops.
September 2017 – Aphids can cause significant economic losses on ornamentals by causing deformities, reduced size, or by merely being present on the plants. Such presence affects the aesthetic value of infested plants, thereby reducing or preventing their marketability.
September 2017 – I’m sure growers sometimes wonder what the heck scientists are doing behind closed doors all day in our labs and research greenhouses. Since it often takes several years of repetitious experiments to conclusively find an answer to a problem (or even longer to bring a new product or process to the market), I’m sure that, from the outside, it sometimes seems like things are at a standstill.
September 2017 – One thing is for sure these days: nothing is for sure. Everyone in the greenhouse industry knows we’re in a global industry. Supplies, labour and produce are increasingly moved around the world in what we’re told is a good thing – “global trade.”
September 2017 – This is part 5 in a six-part series of articles on thrips (and other pests) integrated pest management, where we will provide practical application tips and tricks, information on new technologies and how it all fits within an overall IPM program. Each article will be accompanied by a short video demonstrating a technique or principle.
September 2017 – Growers who have been relying on biocontrols as effective pest management tools over the years are now also turning to biostimulants to improve crop performance.
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.
Perennials are a modern gardener’s dream – that’s what more and more garden centre customers are realizing.
December 2017 – I’ve been attending the Canadian Greenhouse Conference for 22 years and this year’s edition topped them all.
December 2017 – This past August, I spent a week in Chicago where I was the keynote speaker at the IGC (Independent Garden Center) Show. I enjoy Chicago. A walk down Michigan Avenue is, for me, a “must-thing-to-do” to see what is happening to retailing in the U.S. and to possibly identify global trends.
Nov. 7, 2017, Santa Cruz, CA – The first crops of tomatoes and cucumbers grown inside electricity-generating solar greenhouses were as healthy as those raised in conventional greenhouses, signalling that “smart” greenhouses hold great promise for dual-use farming and renewable electricity production.
November 2017 – There are many factors that affect the rates, prices and tariffs paid for utilities and services. At many floriculture, horticulture and manufacturing facilities these costs are nearly 40 per cent of the operating budget and sometimes more. Adding to the concern is the possibility of costly billing errors by different utilities and service providers.
November 2017 – Last month we talked about the looming labour challenge in agriculture, and in particular in the greenhouse sector. The shortage has been identified by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) in its report, Agriculture 2025: How the Sector’s Labour Challenges Will Shape its Future.”
Oct. 30, 2017, Langley, B.C. – Bevo Agro Inc. is celebrating a record-setting year.
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.
June 23, 2015, Windsor — Greenhouse operators in the Windsor-Essex Region will reduce their electricity costs and expand their production by taking advantage of electricity programs offered by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).
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.
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.
Sept. 19, 2017, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. – Canada’s first post-secondary course for the production of commercial cannabis will welcome its first students next September.
Sept. 13, 2017, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. – Tweed Farms Inc., wholly owned subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corporation and operator of the largest known licensed cannabis production facility in the world, has finalized the purchase of a parcel of land adjacent to its current facility in Niagara-on-the-Lake, including an operational 458,000 sq. ft. greenhouse.
Sept. 12, 2017, St. Davids, Ont. – Garden City Growers (GCG) is selling its facilities in St. Davids to Canopy Growth Corporation (Canopy), a leading Canadian cannabis producer.
September 2017 – Nothing evokes passionate debate in the cannabis community like the threat of big business taking over. The arguments against big marijuana fill the Internet. The heartfelt plea to preserve small farms is echoed throughout the U.S., Canada and Jamaica.

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