Greenhouse Canada

Features Business Grower Profiles
Connect, Inspire, Grow

September 8, 2014  By Glenna Cairnie

Celebrating 35 years, the 2014 Canadian Greenhouse Conference continues
its commitment to the horticulture sector by bringing growers, allied
trades and the research community together for education, collaboration
and networking – all in an atmosphere of fun and excitement.

Celebrating 35 years, the 2014 Canadian Greenhouse Conference continues its commitment to the horticulture sector by bringing growers, allied trades and the research community together for education, collaboration and networking – all in an atmosphere of fun and excitement.

There is a sense of optimism in the industry.


Uncertainty has been replaced with focused growth and economic confidence.  Advancements in technology have created new opportunities for growers to maintain quality and create efficiencies while meeting regulatory and consumer challenges. The trade show is bursting with companies that are ready to support you in building a successful operation. Sessions and workshops will provide insight to the issues facing Canadian growers and front-line workers today.

Connect: The CGC provides plenty of opportunities to meet with friends and suppliers. Valuable face-time with exhibitors will solidify business relationships. Don’t miss the popular Happy Hour on Wednesday afternoon. Stay at our headquarter hotel and share your breakfast table with one of the many speakers who have come from around the world. Laugh and relax at The Gathering on Wednesday night. Niagara Falls offers fabulous restaurants and exciting nightlife to make your time at the conference a worthwhile break from the day-to-day routine.

Inspire: Great business people know the value of getting out of the office and finding out first hand what others in their industry are doing to meet the challenges of the marketplace. New ideas on the bus tour, the trade show floor and from the excellent speakers will help you re-think your approaches and motivate changes. Find out what is trending worldwide in the greenhouse sector and be prepared to meet those needs.

Grow: The Canadian Greenhouse Conference is growing as is evident by a sold-out trade show with a record number of first-time exhibitors and annual increases in attendance. Your business can grow too when you use all the tools available to educate and inform yourself and your workforce. 

In collaboration with OMAF/MRA, growers, educators and industry, the Canadian Greenhouse Conference has prepared a speakers program that reaches beyond Canadian borders and brings bright, new ideas and information to growers. While pest control and production issues will always be somewhat localized, advancements from around the globe can be tailored to our Canadian market and growing conditions. Experts from across Canada and worldwide will be sharing insight and solutions. Make time to sit in on as many of these sessions as you are able.


Sonja Dümmen of Dümmen Group will provide the keynote address on Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 11:30 a.m. Don’t miss this chance to learn about European trends from an industry leader. Hear how the European markets work, where the sales seasons differ and how all along the distribution chain market drivers are evolving.


A variety of workshops will provide interactive learning. The “Ask the Expert” drop-in clinics, sponsored by A&L Labs, offer an excellent opportunity to find answers to your specific production problems. Bring those odd-looking leaves along or pictures on your phone. Wayne Brown (OMAF/MRA) and Jim Faust (Clemson University) are on hand to help diagnose and remedy.  Drop-in clinics are Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Faust will also host a “Name That Problem” game show on Wednesday afternoon.  Slides of common and
not-so-common plant problems will be shown and audience members will participate in identifying the causes. Have some fun while learning how to identify production issues.

Are you using your spray equipment properly? Proper technique, calibration and maintenance will ensure that your sprayer is operating at maximum efficiency, saving you time and money. Two workshops, led by Kurt Becker and Louis Damm from Dramm Corporation, covering high-volume spraying and low-volume applications, are scheduled. 

“You can save money by mixing your own nutrient solutions from single element fertilizers, but it can be an intimidating task trying to work out the correct recipe,” says Dr. Theo Blom (U of Guelph). Together with Albert Grimm (Jeffery’s Greenhouses), two simple, practical methods for calculating fertilizer programs and tailoring them to your specific needs will be presented in the Wednesday morning workshop. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. 

“What are my Options?” Ten biopesticides are featured in this workshop. Company representatives will outline how to use each product to achieve maximum benefit. Bring your questions and find your answers from those who know the products best.


With increasing public and government concern in the use of chemical pesticides, the search for effective treatments is expanding into the remarkable use of colour and light. Dr. Irene Vanninen, of MTT Agrifood Research in Finland, brings her unique background and research to Canadian growers. “Light-emitting diodes provide the opportunity of creating narrow band-width spectra to influence plant growth or biology and behaviour of pests and beneficials on plants.” Vanninen speaks twice on Wednesday with the second presentation covering new approaches to risk management of quarantine pests.

Dr. David Ben-Yakir from the prestigious Volcani Centre in Israel has also focused his work on manipulating both natural and artificial light to interfere with pest behaviour. “Optical manipulation is an environmentally friendly method to reduce pest damages.” Ben-Yakir will present his research in two sessions on Wednesday; one for vegetable growers and a second with a flower focus.

Downy mildew, a disease that is neither a fungus nor an algae, has been perceived as an issue only with impatiens, but lately it has been turning up more frequently on different species:  annuals, perennials, vegetables and aromatic plants. Prevention and early detection is the key and Gilbert Bilodeau of IQDHO will help growers identify this threat so that damage can be minimized.

Bee Vectoring is the latest development in biological control. Commonly used for pollination in greenhouses, bumblebees are now doing double duty by delivering beneficial microbial agents. Dr. Les Shipp, AAFC Harrow, will summarize their research and reports on commercial trials.


With the demise of impatiens due to downy mildew, begonias have become the new “go-to” choice of consumers. Learn the detailed requirements for uniform begonia propagation, germination and basket production from three specialists.  Dr. P. Allen Hammer of Dümmen Group, Jerry Gorchels of PanAmerican Seed, and Paul Vos of Foxwood Greenhouses, share their knowledge and experience on various aspects of begonia production on Wednesday morning.

Trouble getting your crops to flower on time? In this presentation, Dr. Roberto Lopez, Purdue University, will explain how temperature and photoperiod affect flowering and help you get your annuals and perennials in flower for specific market dates. How will light from LEDs affect rooting of cuttings and quality of plugs? Will liners and plugs grown under LEDs flower on time? Growers may still have many questions regarding the use and potential benefits of LEDs. Lopez shares the latest results from Purdue’s ongoing research on the use of LEDs, HPS and plasma lamps in flower production. Lopez speaks twice on Wednesday afternoon.

Just what does the future hold in regards to automation? Do the Transformers movies have it right?   John Van De Vegte, Vineland Research & Innovation Centre, and Dan Weinhardt , CMP Automation, bring you up to date on the latest innovations in labour-saving technology. This session is sponsored by the Vineland Research & Innovation Centre.

On Wednesday afternoon, the vegetable session continues with Dr. Les Shipp outlining a new approach to mid-season thrips control with the use of a new predatory mite that shows promise.

Dr. Xiuming Hao, AAFC, states that “many Canadian growers have shown strong interests in the use of supplemental lighting for year-round greenhouse vegetable production.  It is not only the light quantity but also the light quality that influences plant growth, fruit yield and health-promoting compounds.”  Hear the latest findings from Hao’s research on lighting.

From “down under,” Australian Graeme Smith, a specialist in hydroponic vegetable growing, will speak twice on Wednesday. In his first presentation, Smith will discuss the fundamentals of plant physiology and environmental management, and the importance of balancing these factors to optimize crop yield and quality. In his second presentation, Smith talks about the need for growers to learn the business of climate management and how it links to plant physiology. Relative humidity (rH) is one measure but has its drawbacks as it does not provide information about the plant’s condition. Humidity deficit (HD) offers an alternative term that provides a good indication of plant comfort. Smith will explain how to measure, calculate and use HD resulting in improved water use and fruit quality and less disease risk. These sessions will be of interest to both vegetable and flower growers.


With labour costs consuming such a large part of your overall budget, hiring decisions are critical.  Dr. Bernard Erven has 40 years experience in human resource management and family business management. Find out how to tailor a hiring plan to your specific needs and avoid wasting time interviewing applicants who don’t fit your business. Does the thought of holding interviews fill you with dread? Erven gives you the tools necessary to prepare a professional interview and the confidence that you are asking the right questions. 

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) contains a series of compliance deadlines that affect every employer in Ontario.  Consultant Jennifer Threndyle from Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, provides assistance to ensure your business is compliant. 

Threndyle and Erven are scheduled to speak in the same session on Thursday morning.


Garden centre owners will not want to miss the Thursday sessions designed to inspire growers and retailers to better serve their customers. 

In the morning, Laura Martindale will summarize her impressions from the California and European trials; Graeme Murphy will provide the basics of pest management in public areas; and there will be another opportunity to hear from Sonja Dümmen on how the Dümmen Group drives success at the grower, retailer and gardener levels. 

In the afternoon, attention turns to marketing with Bill Calkins from Ball Horticultural sharing solid advice regarding the use of social media. Andy Buyting will speak about catching and maintaining consumer interest by “dominating the mind-space of your customers” and will facilitate the panel discussion where you can learn from the experience of colleagues (Bill Bown of Terra Greenhouses, Jackie Cornwall of Vermeer’s Garden Centre, and Andrew Capogna of Capogna Flowers) in the marketing trenches. Thank you to our Garden Centre session sponsors, Dümmen Group and MacGregor Marketing Communications Inc.


Sponsored by Vineland Research & Innovation Centre, Thursday afternoon’s research updates will bring nine quick, informative presentations from the researchers themselves. Stay abreast with the latest developments in research.


“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” (James Cash Penney, Founder of JCPenney)

Experience the 2014 Canadian Greenhouse Conference and make the CGC an important part of your business plan.

Complete conference details are available on our website at .

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

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