Manure vs Compost: What is the Impact on Ginseng Pathogens?

Growers will soon be planning for manure or compost applications to new gardens. Over the past few months, we have been conducting a literature review into alternative disease management options. Part of the literature review involves an examination of research on biocontrols and amendments. The research has shown that composts can have a significant impact on soil-borne pathogens and the success of biocontrols.

Compost ready for application to a field.

Biocontrol is the addition of organisms to control or suppress a pest. For ginseng, the main target of biocontrol is soil-borne fungi and usually involves the addition of a specific organism such as Trichoderma. Composts often contain similar beneficial organisms to those contained in commercial biocontrol products and these can also control or suppress soil-borne pathogens. Biocontrols and beneficial organisms in the soil work to reduce disease in four main ways: 1) compete with pathogens for resources, 2) directly attack pathogens, 3) release chemicals that suppress pathogens, and 4) induce resistance in the crop. While the main purpose of application of manure or compost in ginseng is to increase soil organic matter content and fertility, the addition of these can have a significant impact on the microbial community around the roots and the pathogens in the soil.  Continue reading

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Ginseng Crop Update – April 20, 2015

As of Friday, April 17 all ages of ginseng were still below the soil (Figure 1). Seeds had small developing roots but were probably at least a couple of weeks from emergence (Figure 2). Older gardens will likely begin to emerge soon, although the cool weather forecast for this week will slow emergence. Now is the time for glyphosate applications (see note)  and Quadris application to new gardens. Note: Glyphosate must be applied before the ginseng emerges from the soil.

Figure 1. 2-year old ginseng buds enlarging below the soil on April 17.

Continue reading

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Hop Rhizome Sample Request for University of Guelph Research Project

A research project being conducted by the University of Guelph (U of G) includes funding to assess rhizome samples from farm sites across the province. The purpose of this research is to determine if downy mildew is present in hop rhizomes in Ontario before symptoms of the disease can be observed.

The U of G research team is interested in hearing from Ontario hop growers who are expanding their hop yards this year and willing to submit samples this spring for testing.

Please note:

  • A total of 30-50 samples will be collected in 2015. Growers can submit up to 5 samples per farm (sample submission via post or courier is paid for by the grower) on a first-come basis.
  • The examination method is still being developed, therefore no results can be guaranteed at this time. However, if protocols are successful, results will be communicated to individual growers. If results are used in publications, growers’ identity will not be revealed for confidentiality.

If you are interested in submitting samples for testing, please email Amy Fang Shi (U of G) or Evan Elford (OMAFRA) for further instructions.

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Using Ridomil 480EC for early season downy mildew control in hops

It’s already mid-April and the Simcoe Research Station hops are growing.  Many conventional growers have already applied Ridomil to their yards.  If you had planned to apply Ridomil but have not yet done so, the window for applying this product is closing.  The pre-harvest interval for Ridomil 480EC on hops is 135 days – so, for example, if you applied Ridomil yesterday, you could not start harvesting your hops until August 29.

What follows are answers to some of the questions we’ve been receiving lately about Ridomil on hops in Ontario. Continue reading

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So You Want to Grow Lavender? Considerations and Cautions

There has been a lot of interest in growing lavender in recent years. Lavender production has a lot of potential in Ontario for agri-tourism and value-added production. However, it may not be the best option for all growers, depending on the market potential, their location and soil type, and their people skills. There are a lot of things to think about before putting any lavender in the ground.


Lavender has a lot of market potential in Ontario but there is little to no established market. This means that any marketing of lavender or lavender products is entirely the grower’s responsibility. If your plan is to grow lavender and drop it off somewhere for an established price, then lavender is probably not the crop for you. There are currently few options for wholesale lavender production. Most lavender sales are based on attracting visitors to the farm and/or sale of value-added lavender products on or off the farm. It is the grower’s responsibility to find a market and build the business, and the market should be identified before large scale production on the farm. Growers should start small to build the market over time and ensure the business is cost-effective before spending large amounts of money. Consider what is going to set your farm or products apart. Working with other lavender producers or agri-tourism businesses may be an opportunity for cross-promotion. Lavender production usually requires substantial interaction with the public, and demands growers with good interpersonal skills. Continue reading

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Delegate Insecticide Registered for Ginseng and Several Other Specialty Crops

By: J. Chaput, OMAFRA, Minor Use Coordinator, Guelph

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of URMULE registrations for Delegate Insecticide for control of several additional insect pests on several crops in Canada including ginseng, basil, dill, popcorn and specialty vegetables in Crop Groups 4 (Leafy Vegetables) and 5 (Brassica Vegetables). Delegate Insecticide was already labeled for use on a number of crops in Canada for control of insects. Continue reading

Posted in Culinary, Ginseng, Ginseng Pest Management, Herbs, Specialty Vegetable Pest Management, Specialty Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ag Biomass Day 2015 – A Great Success.

The Ontario Biomass Producers Co-operative (OBPC), recently hosted the Ag Biomass Day 2015 in Guelph.  The event was very well attended and included participants representing the farming community, livestock producers, Mushroom Canada, OMAFRA, IGPC ethanol, REAP- Canada and other industry stakeholders.

This full day event of presentations and group discussions covered a broad range of topics for biomass crops (switchgrass, miscanthus) including: ongoing research and demonstration projects (agronomy, varietal breeding, bioenergy, biomaterials) and existing and future markets (bedding, feed, fuels, mulch).  Graduate students from the University of Guelph used poster displays to present their current biomass research.

The presentations and videos from this event are now posted online and can be viewed by following these links.

Presentations on the OBPC website, please click here .

 Videos on the Biotalk website, please click here

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