Black Plastic: Is there a Viable Organic Mulch Alternative?

Black plastic mulch is widely used in the production of specialty vegetable crops due to its effectiveness as a weed barrier, capability to conserve soil moisture and ability to warm soil temperatures in spring.   Although it is permitted in organic production, the question of using a product which creates non-biodegradable waste is of concern to many organic producers.   Early forms of biodegradable films were developed to address this concern, however due to poor performance in early years and restrictions on starch based feed stocks (e.g. Genetically Modified Organism starch) by organic regulations, many producers continue to use plastic mulch.  The quality of biodegradable films has improved in recent years but growers and researchers are still exploring other options for organic farms, including organic no-till systems, in order to find management strategies that benefit the whole biological system. Continue reading

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Cover Crop Tour and Open House – 30th October, 2014

Presented by:CCT

No cost. Join part or all of tour. No pre-registration required.  CCA credits requested.

Schedule: Continue reading

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59th Annual American Hop Convention – January 20-23, 2015

P1100410The 2015 American Hop Convention and Hop Research Council Winter Meeting is scheduled for January 20-23, 2015 in San Diego, California.

The meeting provides a venue for the Hop Research Council Committee meetings to discuss hop research reports in addition to general sessions and panels on hop production technology and marketing.

Cost: $525.00 USD (Pre-registration rate by January 9, 2015)

Please click the following link to download the 2015 American Hop Convention Registration Pkt which includes the agenda and information on guest speakers, conference tours and registration information.

For additional information please contact the Hop Growers of America by calling 1.509. 453.4749 or email

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Lavender Propagation Workshop – October 27 2014

The Ontario Lavender Association, the University of Guelph and OMAFRA are hosting a lavender propagation workshop titled “Tips and Tricks for Propagating Lavender Successfully”.

Where: Simcoe Research Station; 1283 Blueline Road, Simcoe ON N3Y 4K3
When: Monday, October 27, 2014
Time: 7:00 pm
Cost: $10 for OLA members, $20 for non-members

This hands-on workshop will cover how to collect cuttings from the field, preparing cuttings for planting, optimal rooting media, rooting hormones, and environmental conditions for optimal rooting.  It will also cover the best times of the year to propagate lavender and how to handle rooted cuttings over winter.

To register email Cathy Bartolic at

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New to Farming in Ontario? Here’s a place to start…

Are you a new farmer in Ontario?  We find many specialty crop growers are also new to farming and are looking for resources to help them navigate the world of agriculture in Ontario.  Did you know OMAFRA has a publication entitled Starting A Farm In Ontario (Publication 61)? This publication provides an introduction to new farmers on everything from buying a rural property to obtaining a Farm Business Registration Number and managing your farm operation.  Basics on crop and livestock production, business plans and record keeping are covered in this resource.  For more information and to order your copy of Starting A Farm In Ontario, please visit the OMAFRA Website or contact Service Ontario at 1.800.668.9938 .

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Ginseng Crop Update – October 3, 2014

Ginseng harvest is in full swing and tops are senescing rapidly at this time. For gardens not being harvested this year, it is important to consider one last protectant fungicide over the next few weeks before winter. Foliar diseases like Alternaria and Botrytis will have no impact on root development this late in the season. However, inoculum from this year can remain on dried ginseng stems and in the straw over the winter. These could start new infections in the spring. In addition, root diseases like Rhizoctonia and Cylindrocarpon can continue to develop and spread under the cool conditions of late fall and early spring. It is a good idea to apply a broad spectrum fungicide to control diseases on both the remaining stems and in the soil before winter. Continue reading

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Ginseng Pesticide and Research Prioritization Meeting – 2014

Ginseng growers, researchers and industry representatives are invited to attend the annual Ginseng Pesticide and Research Prioritization Meeting

Where: Simcoe Research Station Auditorium
When: Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Time: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

This is an opportunity to discuss the production issues over the past year, establish research priorities for the coming year and to prioritize products for the minor use system. Jim Chaput, OMAFRA Minor Use Coordinator, will provide an update on products currently in the minor use system. As part of this meeting, upcoming changes to OMAFRA ginseng publications will also be discussed.

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