Sea Buckthorn: A Nutritional Powerhouse

The start of the sea buckthorn harvest is upon us.  If you are not familiar with this fruit, you may be interested to know that it has been called “an all-in-one phyto-medicinal cabinet”1.  Sea buckthorn has been used for thousands of years in both Europe and Asia as food and for its pharmaceutical properties and is now being grown by a number of farmers throughout Canada including in Ontario.  Sea buckthorn fruit can vary in both shape and colour, but are often cylindrical berries ranging from bright yellow to red.  The berries can be eaten fresh or frozen for later use.  Sea buckthorn berries are used in a wide variety of products ranging for juices and jams to baked goods.  In addition, the oil from the fruit is used in many personal care products such as skin creams and cosmetics. Continue reading

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Phostrol Fungicide Registered for Use on Ginseng

PhostrolTM Fungicide label expanded via Minor Use Program to help manage Phytophthora on ginseng

By: Jim Chaput, Minor Use Coordinator, OMAFRA, Guelph

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of an URMULE registration for PhostrolTM Fungicide for suppression of Phytophthora foliar and root rot on ginseng in Canada. PhostrolTM Fungicide was already labeled for management of diseases on some vegetables, ornamentals, berries, grapes, pome fruit and turf in Canada. Continue reading

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Haskap and Specialty Fruit Symposium – August 23, 2014

Haskap: Indigo Gem Simcoe 2012Mark your calendars for the second Ontario Haskap and Specialty Fruit Symposium on August 23, 2014 at Boreal Berry Farm & Winery in Warren, Ontario.

This year’s symposium features Dr. Bob Bors from the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Maxine Thompson from the University of Oregon, Evan Elford from OMAFRA, and Greg Melien from Boreal Berry Farm & Winery.

9:00 am – Registration & Introductions
9:30 am – (Dr. Bob Bors) Haskap School
11:30 pm – (Greg Melien) Growing & Processing Haskap Berries in Ontario
12:00 pm – Lunch
1:00 pm – (Dr. Maxine Thompson) Honeyberry Research and Development in the US
3:00 pm – (Evan Elford) Specialty Fruit Research in Ontario
4:00 pm – Questions & Discussion with Speakers
5:00 pm –  Thank you & Closing Remarks

Please register through Eventbrite at:

For more information please contact Mira Melien, Ontario Haskap Association,, or by phone 1-705-920-7096.

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Garden Fleahoppers in Lavender

Lavender can be affected by a number of insect pests, but only a few cause economic damage to the crop on a regular basis, such as the four-lined plant bug. However, under the right conditions, other insect pests can reach damaging levels. That is why it is important for growers to constantly scout fields and identify localized pest issues before they become a major issue.

In one of the provincial lavender cultivar trial locations, we noted major damage over the past week by garden fleahoppers (Figure 1). A section the trial containing about 100 plants had significant damage to almost all of the leaves on the plant. When the plants were shaken, hundreds of small green nymphs and a few adults fell out of the plant. Damage from garden fleahoppers has been noted on lavender before, but not at the damaging levels noted in this field. Continue reading

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Ginseng Crop Update – July 24 2014

Weather conditions have been favourable for ginseng growth over the past few weeks, and there are no reports of major disease or insect issues. However, the standard issues for this time of year are showing up. This includes Cylindrocarpon on isolated plants or patches of plants in older gardens, Phytophthora root rot in saturated areas of the garden, Alternaria within the canopy where fungicide coverage is difficult to achieve, and Pythium in some fields. Continue reading

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Soil Moisture Monitoring for Ginseng

By Rebecca Shortt, Water Quantity Engineer, OMAFRA and Sean Westerveld, Ginseng and Medicinal Herbs Specialist, OMAFRA

With variable rains across the ginseng growing region it can be difficult to know when it is necessary to irrigate. Even if soil moisture is slightly lower than optimum for a week, yield can be impacted. Furthermore, seed yield and quality will be significantly affected by low soil moisture, especially if combined with a period of high temperatures, low humidity and/or windy conditions. There are many tools that can be used to improve water management decisions and avoid both wasting water and unnecessary yield losses. Continue reading

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Basil Downy Mildew Confirmed in Ontario Field Basil

Basil downy mildew has been confirmed in the field in Norfolk County. The affected basil was infected in the field and was not directly exposed to previously infected potted basil plants. This suggests that airborne spores were widespread over the past week and the disease is likely to begin showing up throughout southern Ontario fields. Growers need to apply fungicides preventatively before symptoms are widespread in the field. Growers also need to scout fields regularly to identify symptoms before they become widespread. Continue reading

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