Category Archives: Organic Farming

Tips for Winter Greenhouses

Greenhouses are an important way to grow crops outside of the usual growing season and a great way to increase yields. Canada has a unique climate, and as such special care is required when establishing a greenhouse, large or small that will produce a good return for the owner.


Light is required to grow any plant, so choose a material that lets lots of light through. A good rule of thumb is a material that allows at least 70% of light through. Insulation performance will drop as transparency increases. It’s important to balance light transmission with the R-value (the thermal resistance) of the material.


Many greenhouses are transparent on all sides. A cold climate greenhouse may not be fully transparent because conserving heat is a priority. Winter nights are dark and cold and temperatures need to be managed.

Installing windows on the side facing the sun, allows the other sides and the roof to be insulated. The ground underneath the greenhouse should also be insulated. The heat that collects in the earth during the day, shouldn’t be allowed to just disappear out into the ground. The windows themselves can be insulated with removable shades after dark.


Cold climate greenhouses are designed to provide optimal growing conditions during the winter.  As a result, they can get too hot in the summer. It’s important to install proper ventilation into the greenhouse that provides enough ventilation during those hot summer days.

Thermal Mass

Thermal mass will harvest and store the warmth of the sun during the day and release it back at night to heat the greenhouse. This minimizes temperature fluctuations in the greenhouse and will prevent the temperature from dropping during cold nights.

Common materials can provide thermal mass: water, stone, cob, or even the earth itself. Water can be a risky choice because it can freeze, but it’s also one of the most flexible thermal mass materials because you can easily add or remove containers fo water.

There are two ways to take advantage of thermal mass: heating the air or heating the growing beds. The energy required is lower to heat only the growing beds but can be harder to install or modify.

Active Heating

In addition to thermal mass distributing heat, and the rays of the sun working to heat a greenhouse during the day, on cold days and during the night your greenhouse may require additional heat. Often Wood burning solutions or propane heaters can be good choices, as they are equally easy to install in remote areas.



Commercial scale greenhouses are not cheap to build. A solar panel system can have a payback time of years. A four-season greenhouse should be simlar in terms of payback time.  Long-term production yield will be higher, as the greenhouse allows longer growing season but also a kind of insurance against weather risks.

When you are ready to expand your greenhouse business or start a new agricultural production facility,

The Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

3 Profitable Specialty Crops for Canadian Farmers

Many farmers are looking for a way to produce extra income on the farm. Sometimes adding a small-scale cash crop can help increase farm profits, or even become a major source of on-farm income. Here are 3 crops worth considering as an add-on or main crop for your farm:

Gourmet mushrooms. Mushrooms can be an ideal second crop for Canadian farmers, as they are grown indoors and produce a  high return per square foot. The two gourmet mushrooms varieties with the largest demand are oyster and shiitake. Oyster mushrooms can yield up to 25 pounds per square foot of growing area every year. At an average price of $7 a pound,  a 10 x 10 space can generate $17,500 in a single year. Oyster and shiitake can be dried, or sold fresh, allowing for flexibility in distribution and timing.

Garlic. The 3 types of gourmet garlic can provide a great boost to farm revenue. Rocambole, Purplestripe and Porcelain varieties offer superior flavor and command a premium at retail.  These gourmet varieties can sell for as much as $10 a pound.  In good soil, an acre planted with garlic can yield 15,000 pounds. Garlic is a hearty crop that tolerates a wide range of soil and weather conditions, and that’s why many growers rely on it to provide dependable income year in and year out.

Herbs. The biggest herb demand is for fresh culinary herbs. Growers can supply customers directly at farmer’s markets to maximize revenues. A great way to add value is to package 4 herbs into a  windowsill size herb garden. Dried culinary herbs can also be packaged to sell at the farmer’s market, extending shelf-life. With hundreds of choices, including a broad range of ethnic herbs for serious cooks, growers can focus on mainstream and niche herbs to cater to a variety of clients.

If you are ready to start or expand your farm, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help you find funding. Use our funding finder tool:

Or call us Toll-free at:


Farm Grants for Organic Farming

Organic crops are produced without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or fungicides on land that has been free of these chemicals for at least 3 years. Animal products fed organic grains and forage, synthetic hormones, antibiotics, and drugs can be considered organic.

In order to be considered organic, a producer must be certified by the appropriate certification body in keeping with the Canada Organic Regime.

Land Transition Requirements:

In order to use land fro organic crops, the land must be tended for 36 months with no prohibited inputs (fertilizer, herbicide, etc) before organic status.

Under the Canadian system, new applicants who wish to market organic field crops must apply for certification 15 months prior to the expected marketing date. Existing clients wishing to add new land to their certification must ensure that the land is managed according to the Canadian regulations for at least 12 months prior to certification. The European Equivalency Agreement which came into effect July 2011 now recognizes as organic any product certified under the Canadian system.

Livestock Transition Requirements:

There is a one-year transition for livestock to become organic breeding stock. Breeding stock cannot be sold for organic slaughter. Offspring from organic breeding stock is eligible for organic slaughter. If conventional or transitional livestock are managed organically from the start of their third trimester of gestation, then the offspring is eligible for organic slaughter.

Dairy cattle have a one year transition before the milk produced is eligible for organic status. Poultry must be under organic management beginning no later than the second day of life.

Organic certification can be a great way to drive revenue growth on a new or existing farm.

If you are ready to consider becoming an organic certified producer, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help find funding. Find funding at:

Or call us Toll-free at: