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The Sustainable Flowers Podcast:

A conversation about sustainable cut flower growing and designing between two passionate Canadian  growers trying to figure it out.

Heather and Clara grow cut flowers for market on the northern edge of the Canadian Prairies.  In this podcast they discuss the issues they face and alternatives to conventional approaches that they are putting into practice or are trialing to ensure that their small-scale flower farming operations are sustainable. Looking to the past and to new technologies to learn the whys and hows, they discuss everything from peat to floral foam, Antirrhinum to Zinnias as well as their weekly adventures on their Zones 2 and 3 flower farms.

Mar 20, 2020

Controlling disease and pests in hoophouses can be challenging.  We had noticed that recently some flower farmers in the U.S. have adopted "in-ground soil steaming" to tackle this challenge.  In the course of investigating in-ground steaming further,  we came across research into a new technology that works with soil organisms to achieve pest and disease control, rather than  sterilizing the soil.  The technology is called Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD). 

One of the first and most helpful resources we encountered during our research was a series of 2 webinares put on by Dr. Francesco Di Gioia of Penn State.  We were beyond delighted when we reached out to Dr. Di Gioia and he agreed to chat with us AND he persuaded his research colleague, Dr. Erin Rosskopf, Research Microbiologist with the USDA, to join in on the conversation.  

In this episode Dr. Di Gioia and Dr. Rosskopf explain the history and science behind soil steaming and anaerobic soil disinfestation.  

Dr. Di Gioia's two webinares on ASD can be found here: 

A Fresh Start: Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation in High Tunnel Systems, Part 1

A Fresh Start: Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation in High Tunnel Systems, Part 2

The excellent paper mentioned by Dr. Di Gioia that includes calculations for ASD can be found here Implementation of Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation in Florida Tomato Production.

The link to the University of Florida's Center for Sustainable and Organic Food Systems webpage on ASD, that Dr. Rosskopf mentioned can be found here U of Florida ASD webpage

Our theme music was composed and performed by Heather's son Callum and audio editing was completed by the uber talented Laura Eccleston.