Hort Morsels - Bits and Pieces - Hort Snacks - February 2019

  Hort Snacks - February 2019
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 Featured Website | Elm Pruning Ban in Alberta | In the News | Bountiful Farmers Market | Q and A | Google Groups - Hort Snacks Forum | Mental Snacktime | Direct Market Berry and Vegetable Price Survey

Featured Website

Canadian Horticultural Council – Temporary Foreign Workers videos

Elm Pruning Ban in Alberta
  • Pruning and sanitation is an essential part of Dutch Elm Disease prevention
  • Pruning of elm trees is legal in Alberta from October 1 to March 31
  • The disease vectors (European elm bark beetles) are not active between these dates
  • Proper pruning is very important – consult a professional arborist to determine the nature and extent of pruning required
In the News
Bountiful Farmers Market

Click here for information on the new Bountiful Farmers Market

Q and A

Q: What is something that you identified as needing a change or an update last year, which you are planning on implementing in 2019?

A: Labour efficiencies. Costs are getting too high
A: We are going to get an insect netting for Cole crop; no more spraying like organic
A: My irrigation system was not applying enough water to my Sour Cherry planting but over applying on the strawberries and veggies. I will be installing drip irrigation for the Cherry planting.
A: We need a better irrigation system.
A: Provincial and federal governments
A: Recirculating crop water management
A: It is time to start phasing into retirement by beginning to decrease workload in the upcoming year.
A: We started our seedlings too early, banking on enough moisture in the ground for plants to jump / survive until any moisture from the sky...
A: Our farm has recognized that there is a huge movement to "Knowing where your Food comes from" and/or "Know your Farmer". In 2019, we are making plans to work with other farms in growing this awareness.
A: Our farm is strongly considering getting out of the wholesale produce marketing and going back to our roots of farm direct. Far too much food waste and you're always at the mercy of the buyers and the inspectors. Way to stressful and they don't care about the effort or what it took to grow the food you are delivering to them. As a start, we will be looking where we can increase sales and volumes in other areas for this farm to be able to sustain everyone involved.
A: Weed control. I am determined to do a stale seedbed and cover crops as part as weed control strategy
A: I am a brand new grower, so please take this with a grain of salt! I will improve my signage inside (bench cards) and outside (signs at more intersections); Greater volume of early season advertising; and introduce "collections" of plants.

Next Month’s ? What’s one skill or trait that you think is critical to be successful as a horticulture producer?

Google Groups – Hort Snacks Forum

Google has all sorts of different features and tools. One that I ran across a number 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.

Several years ago, we created a HortSnacks Forum, tied to this newsletter. Anyone 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 mailto:hortsnacks-forum@googlegroups.com and it’ll send it to all members. You can reply from email or from Google.

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

Mental Snacktime – Update/Updating
  • “Critical thinking is not something you do once with an issue and then drop it. It requires that we update our knowledge as new information comes in. Time spent evaluating claims is not just time well spent. It should be considered part of an implicit bargain we've all made.” – Daniel Levitin
  • “It's never too late - in fiction or in life - to revise.” – Nancy Thayer
  • “You have to stay updated on trends, social things and pop culture, you need to stay with the times and keep evolving.” – Corey Feldman
  • “You make decisions, take actions, affect the world, receive feedback from the world, incorporate it into yourself, then the updated 'you' makes more decisions, and so forth, 'round and 'round.” – Douglas Hofstadter
  • “I always entertain the notion that I'm wrong, or that I'll have to revise my opinion. Most of the time that feels good; sometimes it really hurts and is embarrassing.” – Anthony Bourdain
  • “Every time we revise our history, we also revise the mythology of our history.” – Laura Anne Gilman
  • “We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly - spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.” – Susan L. Taylor
Direct Market 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. I’m doing it a bit earlier this year, for several reasons, but regardless, experience has shown that earlier is better for everyone involved.

I am including a list of the type of information that I am looking for (below), as well as the blank forms that you can fill out if you would like to use them. You can scan/email, fax or mail them back, or just give me a call for a chat.
Robert Spencer – Alberta Agriculture & Forestry, Postal Bag 600 – 4705-49th Ave, Stettler, AB T0C 2L0
Fax 403-742-7527 Phone 310-FARM (3276)

The following is an outline of the type of information I need.
CropU-pick 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, dwarf 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.

Beat the system and enter and submit your information electronically in this convenient E-SURVEY.


The e-survey is organized similarly to the form (as you can see in the image below), but allows you to enter the information that you have, in crop groups, selecting and entering market type, unit type, etc. for each crop. There are 3 Fruit Crop Groups (Bush fruit, Berries, and Other fruit) and 9 Vegetable Crop Groups (Bulb Veg, Cole Crops, Cucurbits, Fruiting Veg, Leafy Veg, Potatoes, Root Veg, Succulent Legumes, and Other Veg).

Please complete the survey ASAP (preferably by mid-April, at the latest), and it will be published in early spring. Thanks.

The Privacy Clause relating to this survey is included in the PDF format and in the e-survey introduction.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Robert Spencer.
This information published to the web on January 31, 2019.