Hort Morsels - Bits and Pieces - Hort Snacks - March 2017

  Hort Snacks - March 2017
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Mental Snacktime – Initiative

“Without initiative, leaders are simply workers in leadership positions.” – Bo Bennett

“If one has fear, there can be no initiative in the creative sense of the word. To have initiative in this sense is to do something original - to do it spontaneously, naturally, without being guided, forced, controlled. It is to do something which you love to do.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

“You've got to take the initiative and play your game. In a decisive set, confidence is the difference.” – Chris Evert

“Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.” – Victor Hugo

“The key is taking responsibility and initiative, deciding what your life is about and prioritizing your life around the most important things.” – Stephen Covey

“The important thing is to concentrate upon what you can do - by yourself, upon your own initiative.” – Harry Browne

In the News / Articles Worth Reviewing
Google Groups – Hort Snacks Forum
Google has all sorts of different features and tools. One that I ran across a couple of years ago is Google Groups. You can essentially create and join common interest groups or discussion forums and share information and ideas back and forth. You can alter the settings to get forum updates all the time, daily, weekly or whatever.

A couple of years ago, we created a HortSnacks Forum, tied to this newsletter. Anyone who is a member of the forum can submit posts (questions, comments, etc.) via Google or via email. To submit a question (or post), either log into the group using a Google account or simply send an email to hortsnacks-forum@googlegroups.com and it’ll send it to all members. You can reply from email or from Google. You have to be a member of the group to submit questions, but becoming a member is quick and easy.

To subscribe to the group, send an email from your email account to subscribe+hortsnacks-forum@googlegroups.com
Try it out today!

Q and A

Q: What process or steps do you follow to prepare your operation for the "spring rush"?

A: In my experience, most people seem to make a plan based on their past experiences. Starting with things that can be done in advance is a great step, getting steps out of the way when things are slow, etc. In some cases, you are forced to prepare based on suppliers’ timelines and deadlines. But ultimately, a good technique would be to calendar it out in some way, so as to try and manage the chaos in advance, prior to it actually happening. It isn’t easy. Good luck. – Rob Spencer (AAF)

Next Month’s ? Do you have a method for making current season plans that applies past experiences? How do you avoid past mistakes?

Alberta’s Elm Pruning Ban Starts April 1st

To help keep Alberta Dutch elm disease (DED) free, there is a provincial elm pruning ban in place between April 1st and September 30th. It is important to properly dispose of all pruned elm wood by burning, burying or chipping by March 31st. It is illegal to prune elm trees during the pruning ban and to store elm firewood.

Elm bark beetles, responsible for spreading the deadly DED fungus, feed on healthy elms and breed in dead and dying elm trees. If elm trees are pruned during the pruning ban period, these beetles, which are active at this time, can be attracted to the scent of the fresh wound and possibly infect your otherwise healthy elm with DED. Once an elm tree is infected with DED it will die within that year.

Having your tree pruned properly is important. Many trees are killed or ruined annually from improper pruning. Pruning like any other skill requires knowledge and should be done by an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist who can determine what type of pruning is necessary to maintain or improve the health, appearance and safety of your trees.

Topping or removing an excessive amount of live wood is not recommended on any variety of trees and will weaken the tree’s structure. For more information on pruning, ISA Certified Arborists, and DED visit either http://www.isaprairie.com/ or www.stopded.org

Berry & Vegetable Price Survey – Head’s up!

Having price information is valuable for people of all experience levels, to use as a reference against your own pricing and to compare against when calculating your cost of production and setting your prices.

Each year, I put a call out to producers, asking them to share what they were charging for their fruit and vegetable crops the past season (both u-pick and pre-pick for FM), as well as any price changes that they anticipate for the coming season. From that, I assemble average prices (as well as the range) to share with the industry. It is coming up on that time of year again, as experience has shown that earlier is better for everyone involved.

For those readers that get this newsletter electronically, I will send out the formal request in a separate, direct email. I hope to publish the summary in the April 2017 edition of Hort Snacks (May at the latest). For those that get this by hard copy, please feel free to send in your information by mail, fax or give me a call.

The following is an outline of the type of information I need.

CropUpick pricePre-pick priceFarmers Market PriceUnit of measure for each market
(e.g. per pound; per head/bunch)
Examples of Crops wantedFruit – strawberries, raspberries, Saskatoon berries, black currant, sour cherries, Haskap, chokecherries, other fruit; Vegetables – beets, carrots, radishes, rutabagas/turnips, corn, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, kale, spinach, lettuce (head and/or leaf), cucumbers (pickling, slicing), potatoes (baby, regular), rhubarb, peas, snap peas, snow peas, beans, tomatoes, onions, garlic, Swiss chard, winter squash, zucchini, pumpkins, etc.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Robert Spencer.
This information published to the web on February 27, 2017.