Water and irrigation
Dec. 17, 2014, Toronto — Ontario is making it easier for greenhouse growers to comply with regulation regarding the disposal of greenhouse nutrient feedwater by streamlining environmental compliance that will benefit farmers and enhance protection of the environment.
Wouldn’t you know it? I’m asked to write this month on “water management” and there are rainfall warnings in effect in the Fraser Valley. North Vancouver is cleaning up after a night of heavy rain with six creeks overflowing, causing localized, but severe, flooding and property damage.
Aug. 5, 2014, Southampton, U.K. — New research from the University of Southampton is aiming to reduce the water footprint and increase shelf life of potted and cut herb production in the U.K.

At the University of Windsor, Dr. Bulent Mutus is removing phosphates and micronutrients from agricultural wastewater using a biopolymer called chitosan. Chitosan is made from shellfish and when treated can remove micronutrients and phosphates from water. Furthermore, the beads grow algae which can take more micronutrients and phosphate from the water and be refined into biodiesel. The project is planning to be commercialized into large filters that could treat much larger quantities of water than in the laboratory scenario.
Willowbrook Nurseries in Vineland, Ontario is performing a water balance case study of its outdoor ornamental nursery. The study will determine how much water is recaptured in the system and also the quality of the water flowing back into the recycling pond. This project is one of 17 water conservation and efficiency projects in Ontario agriculture supported by farm & Food Care.
It has been a winding and sometimes tortuous path but with recent progress there is reason for optimism as things appear to be heading in the right direction.
This time last year, I left you with some homework to do on the issue of water. So, how’d you get on? Arghh.
Last summer’s debut of a robotic watering system at a farm show in Canada attracted considerable attention – and praise – from growers viewing the prototype.
Greenhouse Canada features often focus on the importance of accurately monitoring water quality
Farming in the urban shadow means extra vigilance is needed when it comes to using and reusing local water to grow crops.
July is a good time to view and review the problems that happened during the bedding plants season.
Soilless media horticulture relies extensively on naturally occurring materials
Over the last couple of seasons, ‘Inside View’ has offered some ideas as to how to conserve water or reduce waste. This year, we’re offering a few more suggestions to help with this increasingly challenging issue.
The term “Dose Size Factor” (DSF) offers growers a tool to optimize the watering frequency and irrigation size for cultivation on stonewool. A recently completed multi-year study at the Improvement Centre in Bleiswijk, the Netherlands, concluded that a dose size factor of 25 is optimum to guarantee maximum rooting and a homogeneous water distribution and EC.
Sustainability is a growing issue with consumers, and the work by a Canadian researcher offers an ideal solution of having a major waste treatment problem turned into an effective plant growth resource.
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