Greenhouse technologies support untapped local food source and crop improvements

Fiddleheads are a nutritious and delicious spring delicacy in Ontario, but they are only available for a few weeks each year. The young leaves of the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris L. Todaro), fiddleheads are harvested from wild populations of ostrich ferns which limits availability, market growth, and research opportunities. Norcliff Farms Inc. turned to Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility (CESRF) to investigate.

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Phytotoxicity assessment of sodium for lettuce grown in NEREA®-based hydroponics

Niagara College’s (NC) Horticultural & Environmental Science Innovation Centre (HESIC) ran parallel crops of lettuce that were grown in a hydroponic Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) system in NEREA® and standard Oasis® rockwool at the NC greenhouse located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, with the goal being to determine sodium concentration in both hydroponic solutions and the edible portion of lettuce.

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Evaluation of the effects of the weight of zeolite in peat moss-based media and the corresponding shipping logistics of potted plant products

IZ Weights Trial

IZC looked to Niagara College’s Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre (HESIC) team to determine if a new soil amendment was going to impact international shipping and handling of plants. The HESIC team created multiple zeolite-peat moss blend ratios and determined dry and wet weights of plants potted in several different pots with zeolite-containing media.

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Evaluation of the Performance of Zeolite-based NEREA® as a Media Amendment for Commercial Production of Basil in Canada

Fresh Basil plant

IZ reached out to Niagara College’s Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre (HESIC) team to work together to assess the performance of NEREA® as a provider of a short-term crop’s complete nutritional requirements. A small-scale trial was performed at the NC Teaching Greenhouse comparing germination and performance of Ocimum basilicum (basil) across a range of percentages of NEREA® blended with sphagnum peat moss.

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NC helps Quick Plug identify formulation of plug media to successfully encourage faster rooting of cannabis cuttings

Quick Plug wanted to produce a novel formulation of solid plug media applicable to several different crops, which would effectively reduce time to root emergence, ‘rooting’, without compromising plant health. Quick Plug turned to Niagara College’s Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre (HESIC) to conduct growing trials to evaluate two of their novel formulations.

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A new approach to controlled environment farming

Ontario-based AgricUltra Advancements has developed a turn-key solution for vertical farming: a self-contained unit controlling every aspect of production from water and nutrients to heat, humidity and run-off… Through the Greenhouse Technology Network (GTN), AgricUltra has teamed up with Vineland Research and Innovation Centre to develop a prototype cradle that brings this technology to indoor vertical farming.  

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