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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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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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.

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Upcoming Webinar – Phosphorus and Cannabis: How much is enough?

The next webinar in our GrowON series is focused on Cannabis production. Bill MacDonald, the coordinator of the commercial cannabis program at Niagara College, will join us to talk about cannabis nutrition. Check out the details below, and don’t forget to register!

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Employment Standards Webinar with the Ministry of Labour – April 12th

OMAFRA and the Ministry of Labour are hosting a webinar on Employment Standards in the Agricultural Sector on April 12th from 10am- 12pm.

The session will provide an overview of:

  • Employer obligations under the Employment Standards Act (ESA)
  • Rights of employees, including Temporary Foreign Workers, under the ESA
  • Exemptions and Exceptions relating to the agricultural sector
  • Temporary Help Agencies, placement employees, and the client business – what are their roles?
  • Obligations relating to COVID-19 and the ESA
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Improperly ventilated heaters & ethylene damage

Spring is almost here…we hope! We’re reposting this article on poor air quality damage on spring bedding crops as we’ve seen some damage again this year.  Symptoms, solutions and preventative measures are listed below. If you think you have a problem, please contact a licensed contractor to inspect your heating system.

Natural gas and propane are popular choices when it comes to heating a greenhouse.  The products of burning fuel are carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H20); both compounds we know are good for your plants.  However, combustion is often (if not always) incomplete, and impurities such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and ethylene (C2H4) are also released leading to poor air quality if your heater is not properly vented.

Typically symptoms from ethylene damage and sulfur dioxide damage can been seen fairly quickly after exposure.

Figure 1. Signs of ethylene damage include leaf curling and epinasty, seen here in A) New Guinea Impatiens and B) lettuce seedlings.

In the short term (a few hours to a few days), ethylene damage results in leaf curling, epinasty (leaves bending downwards from the petiole) and flower drop.  If the stress continues over a longer period (several days to a week or more), plants can take a long time to flower, or not flower at all.  Ethylene levels as low as 0.01 parts per million (ppm) can create symptoms in sensitive species. Levels are usually highest near the heater and can be diluted by air circulation.

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COVID-19 Updates with WSIB Webinar – March 22nd

OMAFRA and WSIB are hosting a webinar on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at 12:00PM to provide information that will help protect workers and assist agri-food stakeholders throughout the changing pandemic.  The session will provide an overview of:

  • A review on reporting claims
  • A reviews on coverage for Temporary Foreign Workers
  • Updates on COVID-19 and WSIB
  • Online Services for Businesses

There will also be time for questions and discussion.

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Upcoming Webinar: Making Sense of Lighting During Propagation

Its a busy time in the greenhouse, but we hope you’ll make some time to listen to our next webinar, focused on using supplemental lighting in greenhouse propagation. Dr. Erik Runkle and Dr. Roberto Lopez from Michigan State University, join us to share their vast knowledge on this topic. Check out the details below, and don’t forget to register!

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Upcoming Webinar – PRIVA’s BioLogics for Plant Growth

This post, authored by Dr. Fadi Al-Daoud, has been reposted from the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetables Blog.

The first installment of the OMAFRA Controlled Environment Agriculture Webinar Series is here! Join us on Thursday January 20th at noon to hear PRIVA’s Peter Kamp talk about a growing strategy that takes transpiration, photosynthesis and the greenhouse climate into consideration. This talk will be of interest to greenhouse vegetable and ornamental growers. Find all the details below and make sure to register in advance!

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