March 15, 2009
Over 180 nursery growers turned up at the Royal Botanical Gardens on Feb 11, for LO’s annual Growers Short Course. The audience listened to 17 presentations during the day-long event, as the job of growing plants becomes more technical and more demanding each year.

This year’s featured speaker was Dr. Hannah Mathers of the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. Mathers made two presentations, one on Site Preparation for Field Nurseries and the other covered Sustainable Nursery Production. Acknowledging that the issue of sustainability has several definitions, Mathers focused her talk on promoting more environment friendly substrates,  using cover crops “the backbone of any cropping system that seeks to be sustainable,” using fewer mineral fertilizers, reducing nutrient leachates, as well as applying fewer and safer pesticides. Research articles by Mathers can be found at, under ‘Articles’ then click on ‘Out and About.’

Other speakers included Philip Careless of the University of Guelph on an interesting bio-surveillance technique to detect the presence of emerald ash borers before symptoms become apparent in trees, Theo Blom, also of the U. of G., discussing managing irrigation water with high salts and Donna Speranzini on Great Lakes water quality and nurseries. Short presentations by 16 other speakers rounded out the day, finishing up with the popular Growers’ Good Idea Sessions.

At lunch, OMAFRA’s Jen Llewellyn thanked Dr. Glen Lumis for his work organizing and arranging the speaker list for the Short Course for the last 30 years. Dr. Lumis is stepping down as the primary organizer of the Short Course.

The LO Growers Group extends its thanks to Gro-Bark for sponsoring the Short Course, as well as the companies that set up exhibit booths at the event: Agrium Advanced Technologies, ASB Greenworld, BioFert, Engage Agro Corp. and Plant Products.  

Mark your calendars for next year’s Growers Short Course, on Feb. 10, at the Royal Botanical Gardens.