This post was written by Fadi Al-Daoud and Cara McCreary, greenhouse vegetable specialists with OMAFRA, and originally appeared on the ONgreenhousevegetables blog.
The quality of water and nutrient solution used in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) production systems, such as greenhouses and vertical farms, is one of the most important factors that affect plant health and yield. Growers monitor water and nutrient solution quality by sending samples for analysis to determine the levels of nutrients and salts. They also use sensors to monitor pH and electrical conductivity (EC) regularly to determine necessary adjustments for the nutrient solution. Growers may also analyze the microbiome, the genetic material of all the bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live in their water and nutrient solution, to evaluate levels of harmful pathogens, such as Pythium and Phytophthora species that cause root rot.
Do you want to play a key role in supporting the competitiveness of Ontario’s greenhouse floriculture sector? If so, consider a temporary job opportunity to work as OMAFRA’s Greenhouse Floriculture Specialist for up to 12 months while Chevonne goes on maternity leave.
In this role, you will:
Act as the lead provincial specialist related to greenhouse floriculture production
Lead Ontario’s technology transfer activities through the development, coordination and implementation of strategies, policies and programs
Coordinate research and projects designed to assess the applicability of new and existing practices, products, technologies and programs to Ontario’s greenhouse floriculture production sector
Prepare educational and awareness building training and tools to facilitate change
Act as a liaison between the research community and industry
Manage contentious and high priority issues
Represent provincial and ministry interests on multidisciplinary working groups to develop provincial, national or international initiatives related to the greenhouse floriculture production sector
For more details, please see the job ad. Applications are due on September 1st, 2020.
On May 14, 2020 the ministry announced the launch of the Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program for Producers. The intake is open to interested applicants and program materials have been posted online. Eligible applications for this cost-share funding will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available, meaning that it may be an advantage to submit an application as early as possible.
There are two cost-share project categories under the program: Occupational Health and Safety Measures and Workforce Access and Accommodation. Both categories offer 70% cost-share up to $7,500. Projects must have started after May 14th to be eligible. Applicants may only submit one application per eligible business/farm property at a time. A maximum of one project per eligible business/farm property will be funded, no matter which category it falls under. Continue reading “New CAP intake: Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program”→
As we advance towards May, the uncertainty around social restrictions, major changes in business operations, lost sales and contracts have left many of us feeling frustrated and anxious. Stress is nothing new to farmers and other horticultural business owners, but in times of crisis, stress can build to new heights causing even the most resilient business owners to struggle.
Spring is just around the corner, and this is historically the time of year where we get more calls about disease pressure and problems in the crop. This year, we’ve decided to run a series of blog posts about water sanitation to get you reflecting on your own irrigation system before you are faced with a problem. Posts over the next few weeks will focus on identifying problems in the greenhouse, interpreting lab test results, on-farm methods for disease monitoring, water treatment technology options and more. These will be good refresher resources, so make sure to bookmark them for future reference.
Are you aware that the Save on Energy program can help you to complete energy efficient upgrades in your greenhouse? You may have participated in this program in the past, but the current iteration can help you to retrofit items like ventilation fans and upgrade to LED lighting in the warehouse and the greenhouse.
The IESO has developed tools that can help you identify areas where an upgrade might be able to help you save energy. These include a checklist that walks you through the greenhouse, and some videos and other information on their web page.
This post was contributed to by Lauren Vanderlingen, OMAFRA Summer Student and Christoph Kessel, OMAFRA Soil Fertility Specialist – Horticulture.
If you are using Saturated Paste Extract (SPE) to assess soil nutrients for in-ground grown cut flowers, you may be underestimating plant available nutrients and applying fertilizers that aren’t needed.
Many greenhouse growers use SPE analysis when testing growing media in the greenhouse for nutrient levels. Typically, SPE tests are used in soilless or peat-based growing substrates, the kind we usually see used in potted plant production. However, if you are growing cut flowers in a mineral soil, either in the greenhouse or outdoors, SPE is not giving you a complete report on nutrients available to your crop.
Both greenhouse and outdoor soils that produce cut flowers should be tested on a regular basis.
CleanFARMS will be offering its obsolete and unwanted pesticides collection campaign this fall.
This program allows farmers to bring in unwanted or obsolete agricultural pesticides, at no cost, to one of 27 collection sites for safe disposal at an approved waste management facility.
Note that these are single day programs, so you need to drop off at the assigned location on a specific day. For more information, and specific drop-off dates, you can see the Clean Farms Program poster.
For Niagara area growers, note that drop-offs will be accepted at Vineland Growers Co-op Jordan Station location on September 27, 2019.
This post was contributed to by Drs. Sarah Jandricic and Chevonne Dayboll.
Summer is in full swing, and so too are garden mums. As you get ready for the next few months, here are a few tips to keep your crop on track.
Drip line irrigation can be a more efficient way of delivering water and nutrients to outdoor crops.
Irrigation method matters!
There are plenty of options for irrigation in potted outdoor crops, but not all are created equal if you are trying to maximize your water efficiency. Overhead irrigation by boom, or sprinkler is not efficient if your pots are not spaced tightly. Canopy sizes in the later months of production may make this impossible, especially if you choose to go with final spacing when pots first move outside. These methods of irrigation can also lead to pots that are too dry (not watered) or too wet (over watered). Plants can only use water that makes it into the pot, so low volume drip line or tape is a more effective way to delivering usable water to your outdoor crops.