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.

Continue reading “Free Access to Mental Health Counselling for Farmers”

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

Are your thrips numbers on the rise?

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.

Continue reading “3 Secrets of Irrigation Water Taking Permits Revealed”

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.

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

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.

Continue reading “Protected Agriculture Standard: Important Information about Dye Test Audits for Growers”

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.”

REMINDER TO REGISTER: Webinar on Battling Botrytis THIS THURSDAY

Every year, factors like increased cloud cover, rain, poor ventilation, and lack of accessible chemicals can leave growers struggling to control Botrytis cinerea (otherwise known as grey mould) in their crops. Our next GrowON webinar speaker has spent an entire PhD trying to bring you better solutions to an old problem: battling Botrytis.

Read on for more details on the speaker and how to register.

Continue reading “REMINDER TO REGISTER: Webinar on Battling Botrytis THIS THURSDAY”

Tips for Storing and Sticking Cuttings this Summer

Over the last several years we’ve heard many reports of poor quality cuttings. There are a range of causes, often due to the interconnectedness of our sector across the world. Staffing shortages along the supply chain and reduced or delayed air transit can affect our shipments. We’ve gathered resources from various experts and tried to compile them here for you to reference. While it’s basic information, it’s good for a refresher and for when things get overwhelmingly busy. Read on for some tips on getting the most out of your cuttings this summer to ensure healthy crops this fall and winter.

Before Cuttings Arrive:

Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize! Now’s the time to prepare for incoming poinsettia and fall mum cuttings. Make sure benches, irrigation lines, drippers and misting equipment has been thoroughly cleaned. Use Virkon or a quaternary ammonium product at the recommended rates. These products are only effective if the surface is clear of any residual growing media and plant debris so be sure to give everything a thorough scrub first. Make sure to rinse everything well after using these products to avoid potential phytotoxicity in sensitive cuttings and young plants. Ensure your water treatment system is working and consider proactively sending in water samples to the lab to identify any lurking issues before the season starts.

Continue reading “Tips for Storing and Sticking Cuttings this Summer”

GrowON 2022 Webinar Series: Battling Botrytis in Covered Crops.

Every year, factors like increased cloud cover, rain, poor ventilation, and lack of accessible chemicals can leave growers struggling to control Botrytis cinerea (otherwise known as grey mould) in their crops. Our next GrowON webinar speaker has spent an entire PhD trying to bring you better solutions to an old problem: battling Botrytis.

Read on for more details on the speaker and how to register.

Continue reading “GrowON 2022 Webinar Series: Battling Botrytis in Covered Crops.”