Greenhouse Canada

A sneak preview of the 2019 Canadian Greenhouse Conference

CGC celebrates 40 years with largest trade show to date

September 16, 2019  By Glenna Cairnie

The Canadian Greenhouse Conference is celebrating its 40th anniversary! Forty years is quite a legacy, and the CGC is proud to continue to support the greenhouse industry with an event that educates and inspires.

Over the years, the conference has witnessed incredible changes in operation size, crops, regulations, production techniques, pest management, technology and consumer preferences. The CGC continues to adapt to such changes in order to best meet the needs of the Canadian grower. This could not be accomplished without solid support from industry partners and growers. The CGC relies on participation and input from business and government representatives, growers, educators and researchers in the planning and delivery of each conference. Thank you to all for making the Canadian Greenhouse Conference an important part of your business and the greater grower community.

Looking back with appreciation is meaningful, however, moving forward is critical. This industry is not standing still and neither is the Canadian Greenhouse Conference. The CGC is committed in its mission to equip growers with the tools necessary for success in this ever-changing, technically advanced industry. No doubt, technology and science hold the answers – but it will be people with imagination, creativity and a willingness to collaborate that lead the charge. To engage, envision and evolve. Celebrate with us. There are special events planned, giveaways and a brand-new event to close the show.


This year’s conference hosts the largest tradeshow to date. The Syngenta Food Court has been moved to add booth space and every space is sold! As always, the 2019 speaker program brings together an impressive list of speakers covering timely issues related to a variety of crops grown in a controlled environment. Take a look at the complete program in the September edition of Greenhouse Canada magazine and start planning your itinerary! Highlights of the upcoming show are outlined here.

For over half a century, horticultural crop production in North America has relied on peat and perlite as the primary components in soilless growing mixes. Recent trends have turned to other materials impacting both plant growth and grower protocols. Two sessions are devoted to root zone management in new substrates. Brian Jackson (North Carolina State University), speaks to substrate trends and how they affect crop management. Michelle Jones (Ohio State University), Ryan Dickson (University of Arkansas) and Anissa Poleatewich (University of New Hampshire) address nutrients, irrigation and biocontrol as they relate to growing media.

Daily Light Integral (DLI) is an incredibly useful measurement for managing light in your greenhouse. “Many plant growth, yield and flowering responses are tightly linked with the DLI and knowing your DLI allows growers to provide supplemental lighting when it will be most effective,” states Jim Faust (Clemson University). Chevonne Dayboll (OMAFRA) will begin the session with a description of different lighting units and their value to production schedules. Faust’s Wednesday afternoon talk will further explain the concept of DLI and how to measure and interpret your measurements, so you can adjust your light management strategy to optimize plant growth and productivity.

An age-old question is whether growers should worry about how their plants hold up at retail or if it is the retailer’s problem? With pay-per-scan becoming an industry standard, growers need to do all they can to ensure plants survive the journey to their new home. Michelle Jones (Ohio State University) shares research demonstrating how biostimulants can be an important tool for growers to improve post-harvest stress tolerance and retail shelf life. Stan Vander Waal (Rainbow Greenhouses) provides a grower perspective and valuable insight.

Which varieties are flourishing in Canadian gardens? Does new mean better or is there something to be said for the reliability of time-tested cultivars? Find out from three top breeders which plants make the Canadian All-Star Team. Hear how the new impatiens Imara and Beacon fared in their season debut. Don’t miss popular horticulturalist and author, Allan Armitage, as he advocates for “solution gardening”.

Next Generation Growing (NGG) refers to a form of controlled environment production that emphasizes plant-centered decision making. This concept has been developed by scientists at Wageningen University and has been applied by many growers in Europe. Marco de Groot (Kairos Flori Consult) has been part of NGG development and will outline the basics of this new approach. Highly regarded local grower, Albert Grimm (Jeffery’s Greenhouses, ON) will focus on humidity control and how this can be applied in Canadian greenhouses to optimize production, quality and pest control.

Lighting is one of the most critical aspects of growing cannabis. Increasingly, LEDs are the lighting choice for indoor and greenhouse cultivation to save energy and effectively manage production. Choosing the right LEDs requires knowing what spectrum is best for different growing environments. Melanie Yelton (LumiGrow) will discuss the advantages of defined spectrum versus broad-spectrum LEDs. In addition, data will be presented on the effectiveness of using of smart light sensors to optimize electricity usage while maximizing crop performance.

Issues of light and odour prevail in communities where cannabis operations are located close to residential properties. OMAFRA Specialist, Vicki Hilborn, will present technologies and approaches available to cannabis producers to control light and odour. Suzanne Wainwright (Buglady Consulting) is joined by Judy Colley from Plant Products and Kevin Cullem from Koppert to discuss IPM strategies to combat pest and disease issues in cannabis production.

By necessity, there is always something new in pest management. The bio versus chemical debate continues, complicated by changes in regulations and pests. Discover the latest in crop protection approaches and “back-pocket” solutions for when the first round of treatments doesn’t work. “Buglady”, Suzanne Wainwright is joined by IPM experts Ron Valentin (BioWorks), Roselyne Labbé (AAFC) and Graeme Murphy (bioLogical Control Solutions).

Author, consultant and sought-after speaker, Tom Shay (Profits Plus Solutions) draws on his extensive experience to assist retail business owners and managers with the day-today operation of their businesses, marketing and strategy. Shay has developed a niche for garden centres and he is keen to help small businesses increase their profits and build for the future in his first presentation “Strategies to Win”. “Advanced Professional Selling Skills” is for those who
aspire to have a staff with sales skills second to none. Shay explains nuances of the true sales professional with an emphasis on fine points such as word selection, what questions to ask, how to ask those questions, and even posture that can substantially increase sales.

A greenhouse climate is a delicate balancing act. Heating, climate control and crop management need to be adjusted to optimize crop production under various lighting sources and placements. AAFC research scientist, Xiuming Hao, shares a new strategy which allows for injury-free production of greenhouse tomatoes with 24-hour lighting. Advances in LED technology over the past few decades have brought about the ability to fine-tune lighting systems for plant production in controlled environments. The ability to produce wavelength specific LED-luminaries has allowed us to examine the effects of spectral quality on photosynthesis, C-partitioning, and export rates of photo-assimilates during production. Jason Lanoue (University of Guelph) will explain these findings and their implication for the future design of LEDs. Andrew Lee (Grodan) will cover current thought processes when it comes to irrigation strategies relative to light and how Grodan’s e-Gro platform will assist growers with data driven steering of WC and EC.

Novel approaches to manage both insects and disease of greenhouse vegetables round out Wednesday’s program. AAFC’s Geneviève Marchand states, “It is crucial to monitor the efficacy of registered pesticides over time, given the potential for resistance to develop in pathogen
populations.” To raise awareness and bring attention to this issue, Marchand will present results from two recent research projects. Roselyne Labbé (AAFC) will cover the use of food supplements for improving biocontrol in European greenhouses, and Anissa Poleatewich (University of New Hampshire) will encourage growers to work with a plant’s natural defense system and resilience as a viable alternative to chemical control.

Indoor fruit production continues to flourish as Canadian shoppers support locally grown produce and seek year-round supply. Eric Boot from BVB Substrates and Marc van Gennip (Genson) will talk about production methods used by Dutch growers. David Gadoury (Cornell University) reports on the use of UV light to kill pathogens.

Retailers, this is your opportunity to find inspiration for the 2020 season. Proven Winners Director of Marketing, Marshall Dirks looks to the future and how the consumer will shape the industry. Ignite your passion for perennials with Magda Pawlowska (Willowbrook Nurseries) and learn how Alice d’Entremont (Ouest-Ville Perennials) has created a unique gardening destination on the tip of Nova Scotia.

Part inspiration, part information, you will not want to miss eminent horticulturalist Allan Armitage, who has his fingers in the dirt and on the pulse of gardening as he talks about our relationship with plants and the role of garden centres in nourishing that relationship.

Organic growers will find excellent information in this session from three speakers who are all well-known in this field. Peace Tree Farms owner, Lloyd Traven, and Michael Short (Eco Habitat Agri-Services) will cover pest control issues while Norm Hansen (Erieview Acres) will take on the challenge of explaining increasingly complex regulations for growers selling domestically and into the USA.

Water management in the greenhouse and its fate afterwards are of great concern. You will learn the impact of leach water in the environment as well as determine whether your production facility can meet the requirements for zero offsite leach.

Horticulture’s adoption of technology is changing how greenhouses and their labour-force work. New technology will be naturally integrated into presentations throughout the CGC program but in addition, you will find two sessions that focus on innovation, artificial intelligence and automation. James Sulecki, Meister Media’s Chief Content Officer and Head of Precision Initiative, will inspire with an overview of innovations that are poised to transform your operation. Ed Treacy (PMA), Quade Digweed (AAFC Harrow) and Brian Hendel (Splice Digital) will each speak on different aspects of the crucial issue of data management. Stan Vander Waal explains how he prioritizes his automation decisions. Lastly, you won’t want to miss what Kenneth Tran from Microsoft Research has to say about promising applications for AI in greenhouse operations.

Don’t miss the ever-popular Research Updates session scheduled for Thursday morning updating growers on ongoing and new research out of the University of Guelph, Wilfred Laurier University, Vineland Research & Innovation Centre and Flowers Canada (Ontario).

The CGC is about more than exhibits and programming – it is about PEOPLE! The Canadian Greenhouse Conference’s casual, friendly atmosphere will allow you to build a network of resources with internationally renowned speakers, researchers, retailers and allied trades. Where there are people, there will also be fun, and the CGC has the events you need to make your show experience extra enjoyable. The popular conference bus tour which takes place on the 8th of October is a unique opportunity to tour some of Essex county’s premier vegetable and flower growing facilities. Don’t miss Happy Hour on Wednesday afternoon where food, drink and music create an ideal end to the first day of the conference. Enjoy dinner at The Gathering on Wednesday evening where we will dine on the brink of the falls in the newly renovated Table Rock House Restaurant. The CGC is pleased to announce a new networking event. “Last Call” will take place on Thursday afternoon as sessions let out. Sponsored by Signify, this will be one last opportunity to relax and engage with colleagues before returning to your greenhouses ready to implement what you have learned over the last 3 days.

Register in advance to take advantage of discount pricing. Complete conference information is available at 2019 Canadian Greenhouse Conference: your Canadian resource for the business of growing.

Glenna Cairnie is the marketing and events coordinator of the Canadian Greenhouse Conference.

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