Looking Ahead to 2023: Preparing for Spring Crops

This post was jointly written by Dr. Chevonne Dayboll and Dr. Sarah Jandricic

It’s hard to believe, but as the first snow hits the ground here in Niagara, that means its time to think about spring crops again!

This post gathers some of the most important things to plan and prep for in the greenhouse, including ordering inputs, preventative maintenance, and your pest management and PGR plans!

Think of this post as your “to-do” check list for the month of December, as the time to plan all this is NOW, before your spring production begins.

We’ve also linked to some helpful videos we’ve recorded from our GrowON webinar series that are relevant to spring crops. They’re worth a re-watch – or a first watch – if you haven’t seen them before!

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Unwanted Pesticide Disposal – Locations and Dates for Fall 2022

Cleanfarms Ontario is offering free disposal of unwanted pesticides. Please consider this option for remaining pesticides that will not be registered after 2022! Recently expired ornamental pesticides include Ambush 50EC (last date of use: 2021).

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REMINDER: GrowON Webinar on Onion Thrips Control TOMORROW! (Thurs Aug. 25th)

Onion thrips (Thrips tabaci) are an increasing pest of greenhouse ornamentals, strawberries, vegetables, and even cannabis. Why is this, and what can growers do about it?

To learn more about this emerging pest, register for the latest GrowON webinar – a webinar series JUST for covered crops!

Click on the image to register or see the link below!

Continue reading “REMINDER: GrowON Webinar on Onion Thrips Control TOMORROW! (Thurs Aug. 25th)”

GrowON Webinar, Thurs Aug. 25th: What We Know About Onion Thrips as Pest of Covered Crops

Onion thrips (Thrips tabaci) are an increasing pest of greenhouse ornamentals, strawberries, vegetables, and even cannabis. Why is this, and what can growers do about it?

To learn more about this emerging pest, register for the latest GrowON webinar – a webinar series JUST for covered crops!

Click on the image to register or see the link below!

Continue reading “GrowON Webinar, Thurs Aug. 25th: What We Know About Onion Thrips as Pest of Covered Crops”

Free Access to Mental Health Counselling for Farmers

Farming can be a uniquely stressful situation, and many farmers don’t know where to turn when they are experiencing workplace, financial, or family stress.

Ontario is now offering a new service that caters to the unique concerns of farmers.

Read on for more information about Ontario’s Farmer Wellness Initiative, as well as for other farmer-centric mental health resources.

It’s never too soon or too late to ask for help.

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Where Do Most of Your Thrips Come From? The Answer May Surprise You.

Are your thrips numbers on the rise?

(This post was co-written by S. Jandricic and A. Summerfield.)

Sometimes your thrips biocontrol program is working great. Other times, it seems to get completely overwhelmed.  Thrips often get out of control in Summer, when fall crop production is ramping up. But why is this?

Several factors can contribute to rising thrips numbers, but the major reason involves HOW and WHEN thrips like to invade your greenhouse. Read on to learn about this, and what you can do to stay on top of thrips this summer!

Continue reading “Where Do Most of Your Thrips Come From? The Answer May Surprise You.”

3 Secrets of Irrigation Water Taking Permits Revealed

Do you supplement your greenhouse irrigation water supply with well, canal or lake water in the summer months? If so, you need a Permit to Take Water! Read on for helpful tips, contact information and commonly asked questions from our engineering colleagues.

1. If you irrigate, from any water source in Ontario, you need a Permit To Take Water (PTTW) from the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP). (Not really a secret after all!)

What if it’s a pond on the farm property, not connected to anything? 

YES, you still need a PTTW

What if it’s just a sand point well?

YES, you still need a PTTW

What if we take water from a municipal drain or roadside ditch?

YES, you still need a PTTW

You might pull water from wells, ponds or the roadside ditch in times of need. All require a PTTW.

All water sources require a PTTW: ponds, lakes, Great Lakes, streams, creeks, ditches, wetlands, springs and wells.  Whether your water source is large or small, you need a PTTW.

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Tropical Thrips Species Intercepted on Plant Material in Ontario: Be Aware – But Don’t Panic.

This post was co-written by A. Summerfield (Vineland Research and Innovation Centre) and S. Jandricic.

Figure 1. Thrips parvispinus is generally dark coloured (though the head and thorax can be lighter than the abdomen), has bright red ocelli and clear patches at the top of its wings.

Increases in global trade, along with decreased use of harsher broad-spectrum pesticides makes it easier for insect species to move around the world. Because of this, it is becoming more common to find unusual pests coming in on plant material. It’s important that we are prepared and know what to do when something like a new thrips species makes an appearance.

The tropical thrips species Thrips parvispinus has been popping up in various parts of the globe in recent years and was intercepted on plant material in two Ontario greenhouses in 2021/2022. Read on to learn what we know about this species and what you should do if you suspect you have them.

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Protected Agriculture Standard: Important Information about Dye Test Audits for Growers

We’ve written before about the National Protected Agriculture Standard and what it means for greenhouse floriculture growers. The standard, which is administered by CropLife Canada, comes into effect January 1, 2024. The goal is to keep plant protection products where they are applied.

In order to purchase pesticides going forward, your farm will need to be certified under the program as of January 1, 2024. All greenhouse growers who self-identify as having a recirculating (closed-loop) irrigation system need to register and complete an audit by December 31, 2023 to be certified. Open system growers will need to obtain an exemption in order to continue purchasing products. Greenhouse grown cut flowers and hoop houses that do not recirculate their water are currently out of scope, but they will be added to the standard in the near future.

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Poinsettia Pest Management Pointers: Receipt Through Potting Up.

Poinsettias are almost here! Instead of covering the whole crop cycle, this year we’re breaking posts down into 4 key growing periods: Receipt/Propagation, Early Production, Late Production, and Finishing.

This post on propagation will cover things you can do now to treat pests and diseases in your cuttings to prevent BIG problems later. And make sure to check out Dr. Chevonne Dayboll’s post from last week, on ensuring cutting quality.

Continue reading “Poinsettia Pest Management Pointers: Receipt Through Potting Up.”