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April 28th, 2018 Saturday
at the Horticulture Field Lab​s

Bright Turf Management Future Ahead, Thanks to KPU Students

From left to right: Carolyn Reitzel Corey Hewlet, Jason Morgan, Josh Crandall, Brennan Lessick, Josh Carlsen, WCTA President Peter Sorokovsky,
Duncan Longridge (Ksenia Thurston missing from pic)
The Board of Directors of the Western Canada Turfgrass Association would like to thank the turfgrass students of Kwantlen Polytechnic University for all your volunteer work; fundraising for research, and your commitment in helping our 2018 Conference & Trade Show be a huge success!
Your volunteer work doesn’t go unnoticed. It is recognized by many colleagues in our industry. Taking lead roles with research fundraising and contributions sets a high standard for many to follow. It’s a necessary push we need to encourage more research contributions, so that research projects will continue to be funded.

The WCTA applauds all your efforts, and we are grateful for what you’ve given back to this great industry!

Branching Out 2018

This year, about 60 students experienced in different ways the breadth of fascinating careers that horticulture has to offer. First panel speakers took on the theme of ‘Horticulture Innovations for a Sustainable Future’.

Students then met with 27 employers representing a cross-section of the industry, including among others large-scale greenhouse vegetable producers, landscape design/maintain companies, turf grass companies and garden centre/nursery producers. These informational interviews provided students real experience of presenting to potential employers, and businesses had opportunity to meet potential new employees for the first time.

New crops: tomatoes and growers

Just after he’d planted his crop in January, students in Kwantlen University’s HORT 2493 course (Greenhouse Crop Development) took in a tour of Delta View Farms (greenhouses) and chatted with Head Grower Gord Yakel about what it takes for a grower to ‘steer’ a crop and achieve optimum crop performance. Among other topics, Gord explained the finer points of using temperature, irrigation, CO2 and screens to maximize yield and quality from the 18acres of glasshouse tomatoes that he manages. For many of these students, this was an opportunity to help ‘steer’ their budding careers into a rewarding and enjoyable sector of the horticulture industry.
For more information about the programs at KPU School of Horticulture, contact Gary Jones (
For more information about Delta View Farms, and the BC Greenhouse Growers Association, visit:

HORT 3270 gets in the dirt

KPU’s School of Horticulture BHS degree students in the Urban Agriculture course popped along to meet with Gabriel Pliska of Frisch Farms on a fabulous fall morning in mid-October. Gabriel uses otherwise unused front- back-yards in the Arbutus-Kitsilano areas of Vancouver. With agreement from the home owners, he grows all kinds of garden vegetables, mostly through the summer season. Today, Gabriel and the students planted up a bunch of garlic for over-wintering and harvest next summer, while chatting through some of the pro’s/cons, rewards and challenges of urban agriculture on this scale.

Design Thinking in Action

Sustainable Landscape Design II students collaboratively planned and installed four visually stunning, functional patio vignettes at West Coast Gardens to successfully complete a unique practical exam. This remarkable example of experiential learning enabled the teams to reflect on critiques by West Coasts’ experts and enhance the designs yet again. According to West Coast, “The patios are being sat in and enjoyed by our customers. A few of them are missing pieces as customers have been inspired to buy and recreate at home.” 

Gold and Silver at Provincial Skills Canada competition

We took home Gold and Silver medals at the Provincial Skills Canada Landscape Gardening competition held in Abbotsford at TRADEX on April 5. Urban Ecosystems degree students Anita Proom and Richard Blackwell (on the left) claimed the silver medal while Erin Stackhouse, 4th year Landscape Apprenticeship and teammate Stuart Albertson, Landscape Diploma, took home the gold (on the right).
The gold medal team by way of their win will be preparing to compete at the National Skills Canada Landscape Gardening competition in Winnipeg on May 31 – June 3.

Horticulture hosts ‘Food Projects in the Langleys’ workshop

Having heard of about seven innovative agriculture/food security related projects being planned by various groups in the Township and City of Langley, the School of Horticulture decided it was time to invite everyone together and share thoughts, visions and ideas. But no-one expected there to be so many projects in development! On February 8th, representatives from a whopping 13 different groups joined the conversations and planning, and new partnerships have hopefully been born. Groups participating included planners from both municipalities, Langley Sustainable Agriculture Foundation (LSAF), Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS), Fraser Health, consultants from the Ministry of Agriculture, teachers and administrators from Langley School District (SD 35) and Langley Food Bank and several others. Participants spent a very busy morning of discussion facilitated by Darren Stott of Green Chain Consulting, and after comparing projects and finding common ground, the  tough work of implementing these now begins…..

Pacific Agriculture Show 2017

The Pacific Agriculture Show featured many important industry meetings including the long running Horticulture Growers' Short Course. These and the various industry conferences that took place at the Show attracted high quality delegates from the agriculture and horticulture sectors as well as it represents the scope and importance of the industry, and let visitors investigate and compare the latest technology, trends and techniques available.

Turfies practice for an interview

Students of HORT 1132 - Turfgrass Operations wrapped up their Fall 2016 session with "Interview Day". Purpose is to develop student skills of Resume, Cover letter, Portfolio and Interviewing. 4 industry professionals were the panel for 20 minute individual student interviews while their classmates watched. Each interview concluded with the panel commenting on students' performance.

Awesome Plant ID App!

KPU's School of Horticulture goes global with this innovative Plant Database App that takes plant and pest identification to a whole new level!

This app has been developed to help users quickly identify plants using smart phones and tablets. There are over 1500 plant entries and 20,000 images with close-up details of the leaves, flowers, fruits, or cones taken from the full web version of the KPU Plant Database. There are direct links to search the internet for more information on each plant or pest entry. Plant and pest favourites can also be stored (to review for tests, for consideration in a landscape plan, etc.).

The paid version allows users to upload their own images with searchable descriptions as a means to record where and when the plant was found. These plants can then be found again to observe seasonal changes, to help other users locate the plants, or to monitor plant growth or pests. Students can even create personalized digital herbarium or bug collection to become better prepared for tests!