Canadian packaging recognized in Berlin

Canadian packaging recognized in Berlin

A Canadian food-service and packaging company took home the bronze at the Fruit Logistica Innovation Awards in Berlin, Germany this year.

Small new edibles pack big flavour

Small new edibles pack big flavour

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.

Book overhauls concepts in greenhouse production

Book overhauls concepts in greenhouse production

What if someone told you that plant physiology and physics could change the way you think about greenhouse climate control?

Winners of the 2018 AGGA awards announced

Winners of the 2018 AGGA awards announced

Three big awards were handed out by the Alberta Greenhouse Growers’ Association (AGGA) at their annual meeting and social event held during the 2018 Green Industry Show and Conference in Edmonton.

Looking back towards the future: State of the industry

Looking back towards the future: State of the industry

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.

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:
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:
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.
With greenhouse strawberries becoming increasingly popular among consumers, how can supplemental lighting be used to help improve their production and potentially open avenues to other berry crops?
Light is a prerequisite for photosynthetic activity for all crops whether the crops are grown in an open field or grown under cover. When light is insufficient, healthy plant development is hindered, which manifests in a variety of crop issues including poor root development, susceptibility to diseases and pests, stunted growth, delayed flowering, stretch, and low transplant viability.
In late September, the AAC (Agricultural Adaptation Council) will be closing its application submissions for the “Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative” (GCII).
A  little extra light can make a big difference. Recent innovations have increased the transparency of energy-saving screens for vegetable and ornamental crop production. The ability for higher light transmission further optimizes the growing climate while keeping the heat in, important during the colder seasons when vegetable prices typically peak.
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.
Let’s face it, chemicals have been around for some time now, and have allowed us to successfully manage pests through each growing season. But it’s telling, that we still have to battle the same suite of pests and diseases in greenhouse crops, only now these are resistant to many of the chemicals that have been used against them.
Biologically based pest management technologies are being widely accepted because of their potential to beneficially exploit pest systems with little to no probability of harmful effects on human health and the environment.
Walking into the Orangeline Farms greenhouse, you’ll notice a myriad of purple and green foliage at the ends of some rows. But they’re not any one of the 20 different bell pepper varieties that the greenhouse operation grows.
The pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii is one of the most important pests of pepper crops in North America. Currently, there are no commercial products that can target immature stages of the pepper weevil, however strategies including biological control, may be useful in attacking these life stages and reducing population levels.
In a controlled environment, supplemental lights are often used to increase crop growth. But could they also be used for other purposes?
Insect pests don’t always die by flipping over with six legs in the air. In nature, the process is sometimes an inescapable decline due to an overwhelming infection, followed by loss of appetite, disinterest in reproduction, lethargy, and then death. Science has learned to isolate, select and mass-produce some of these infectious microbes.
When we started our project to develop a more effective IPM strategy against foxglove aphids, one of the first questions we tried answering was “Why doesn’t Aphidius ervi provide good control?” Growers and IPM specialists have previously reported that this aphid parasitoid does not seem to be effective in controlling the relatively “new” aphid pest - foxglove aphid. 
Greenhouse growers need to be rigorous managers if they want to stay ahead of aphids and mealybugs.
Palladium fungicide was recently approved for a minor use label expansion in Canada. But what does that mean?
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.
Have you ever sold more than you could supply? For most industries, overselling would result in unhappy customers and a lot of damage control. Fortunately, for those in the business of selling plants, that may just require a call to another grower to help fulfill those orders.
It’s finally happened. Wednesday October 17th 2018. A momentous day. The world celebrated the 5th anniversary of when Ashrita Furman balanced 100 ice cream scoops on a single cone.1 Oh, I nearly forgot: that same day the Canadian greenhouse industry was changed forever and the first ticket for ‘driving and toking’ was issued one hour into the new era of legalized recreational cannabis production in this country. In Winnipeg, if you’re interested. So, now what?
The habits of shoppers have changed. These days, customers are looking for experiences that are more than just the products and goods on offer.
In 2013, husband-and-wife team Brian and Roberta Bain opened Saskatchewan’s first commercial vertical farm. Initially started as a 1300 sq. ft. warehouse of microgreens, Ecobain Gardens grew into a 6000 sq. ft. facility with fresh herbs added into the mix. Known for their eco-friendly growing practices, the Bains are shaking things up again with another crop – cannabis.
Your greenhouse contains a wealth of a prized commodity that recently skyrocketed in importance—and you can’t even hold it in your hands. It’s big data, and growers should take notice.
As a business owner, would you invest in plants that you knew would cost more to produce than the return? Without a compelling return on investment, the obvious answer is no, but there is a chance that you might be doing exactly that. In our last article, we explored how consumers attach value to a plant and how that should be considered when growers assign prices. Now it’s time to look at how the cost of production should affect the price as well.
While Canada welcomes more permanent resident immigrants per capita than any other nation, the entry of foreign workers unfortunately remains sensitive. But the Canadian agricultural sector remains in a privileged position when it comes to immigration policy and labour from abroad.
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.
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.
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.
Heuchera from tissue culture (TC) are not difficult to establish if certain protocols are followed. The critical factor to understand is that these have been grown in a lab under high humidity and low light. Lower humidity and higher light levels must be avoided until the TC has been acclimated.
In Greenhouse Canada’s August “New Varieties” edition, experts from garden centres reported that eco-friendly plants are a trend that’s here to stay, especially for the newer generation of gardeners. Topping the list for these millennial gardeners are plants that are considered “pollinator-friendly”.
February tends to be a slow time at Roelands Plant Farms Inc.The greenhouse vegetable propagator in Lambton Shores, ON, has usually shipped the last of its orders for the year’s tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers to clients throughout North America, and its busy season winds down.
When the legal industry began to emerge, indoor cannabis grow facilities were considered ideal for optimal growing because of the ability to control the environment entirely. However, the industry is seeing a steady decline in cannabis prices so it’s becoming increasingly expensive to operate an indoor grow facility. As such, more and more growers are turning to greenhouse structures for their cannabis grow operation.
Want to produce lush, flower-covered container recipes? Lead growers Aleksi Yosifov and Noah Derohanian of Pleasant View Gardens share their top tips.
Container recipes are popular with home gardeners because they offer instant beauty and colour in a convenient take-home package. So how do growers create the combinations customers love, and produce them as efficiently as possible? Here are seven tips from Brian Bourdon, Four Star Greenhouse’s offsite and product line manager, who has created hundreds of Proven Winners’ most popular recipes.

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