HORT*3280 Greenhouse Crop Production

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The following description is for the course offering in Winter 2022 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.

This course examines the principles and practices of production, culture and marketing of greenhouse flower and vegetable crops. 


Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Winter

Class Schedule and Location:

Please see WebAdvisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

Specific Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Develop a better understanding of the relationships among primary physiological processes affecting plant growth and development as well as crop yield in selected protected environment systems
  2. Experience presenting individual research findings arising from a major term assignment for which each student will develop a position paper on a selected topic (crop) of interest that is currently or can be produced in controlled environments
  3. Experience designing and executing a hands-on, semester-long, research project focused on a selected aspect of modern greenhouse production systems; including improving literacy in conducting a comprehensive library search of pertinent background data and the development of targeted objective(s), hypothesis, and methodology for the project
  4. Improve literacy through presentation of research objectives and findings, via a series of assignments including the term paper and the research project that are to be reviewed critically with the class and instructors and contribute to the class report that possibly will be presented to the public at College Royal and also as a technical report for a trade publication 

Lecture Content:

Through lectures, seminars and laboratory exercises students will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of how environmental factors can affect physiological and developmental plant processes and alter the commercial yield and quality of selected greenhouse crops and fresh produce such as mushrooms and medical marijuana that also are produced in controlled environments.

The lecture periods during the semester will consist of two sections during the semester. 

In the first section, (January and February) the instructor and experts from university, government and/or industry (if available) will lead class discussions during the lecture periods.

In the second section, (February and March), each student from the class will introduce a special topic regarding greenhouse production and lead discussions of their library research, focused on their individual “Major Term Assignment” (see below).  A schedule for these major topic presentations will be posted by the second week of February.  However, the information presented in class and research paper chosen might form part of the final examination that all students are responsible for.   All students are expected to attend and participate in ALL class seminar periods. No exceptions will be considered except for medical reasons.

Lecture topics include:

  • The importance of greenhouse industries with markets, trends and issues
  • Light/radiation and the effects on growth and development of major greenhouse crops
  • Temperature effects on growth, development and commercial value of greenhouse crops
  • The use of carbon dioxide in protected environments
  • The influence of humidity on plant transpiration and crop growth in greenhouses
  • The role of root growth and nutrient uptake during indoor production
  • Principles of integrated climate control on production of ornamental and edible crops
  • The use of growth regulators in greenhouse crops
  • Management of selected holiday crops such as poinsettias and lilies
  • Factors affecting the growth /development of ornamental plants
  • Principles of greenhouse vegetable production
  • Pest and biological control in controlled environments
  • Novel uses of controlled environments for by-products, medicinals and pharmaceuticals
  • Greenhouse cropping and alternative systems 
  • Production of, transplants including bedding plants. 
Labs & Seminars:

Laboratory participation and reporting will account for 40% of final mark for this course.

Each student will develop a research project as part of a team (normally 2 students). The team will design and carry out an experiment in consultation with the instructor and the technical staff. Before starting any project, the team must consult with the instructor to discuss the design, collection of data, statistical analysis and class presentation before proceeding. It is strongly advised that each team get a very early start on their laboratory projects. The laboratory research project should be chosen by each team in the first week (by Jan 11th 2018). A proper library search should begin as soon as possible. 

Some suggested topics for student laboratory experiments include investigating:

  1. The effect of different artificial lighting systems such as HPS and LED on vegetative, flowering and fruit development in Capsicum annuum and in Lycopesicum sp., cv Microtom.
  2. The effect of different artificial lighting systems such as HPS and LED on vegetative and flower development and flower quality in marigold sp. and Lycopesicum sp.
  3. The effect of different artificial lighting systems such as HPS and LED on vegetative and flowering development and ornamental quality in Helianthus annuum.
  4. The effect of additional supplementary lighting on the growth, appearance and development of Coleus sp.
  5. The effect of physical and chemical treatments on the development and timing of Easter Lilies for market.

Laboratory project reporting will include a clear demonstration of record keeping and timely analyses of pertinent data collections. Clear notation of weekly activities and observations of each team will be recorded in each team’s bound, laboratory note-book that will remain in the Bovey Bldg. during semester with the technical assistants. These notebooks will remain the property of the instructor. 

It is expected that statistical analysis of the data collected by each team will be undertaken as data becomes available so that the experiment can be assessed in a timely manner to assist in modifying the experimental protocols during the semester. If the results indicate that alteration of methodology is warranted a prudent course of action must be approved with the instructors. Each team will include in their final report important environmental data and observations being made on different parameters such media porosity, media pH, conductivity, and any fertilizer calculation and/or chemical formulations, nutritional analysis, tissue fresh and dry weight, leaf areas,  stem heights and thickness and so on (etc.). The protocols used in each laboratory exercise should be clearly outlined in the Materials and Methods section of the notebook, and should be identified in each student’s final Project Report.

Students will be fully responsible for the maintenance of their project material both in and out of the greenhouse. If a member of the team is not available to tend experimental material during weekends, holidays, reading week etc. arrangements need to be made with other class members, and  if necessary with greenhouse personnel to carry out weekend watering, fertilizing, etc. Only a limited amount of equipment (e.g., balances, SPAD meters, spectro-radiometer) are available and each team should plan in advance when they will need specific equipment. They should consult the Technical Assistant and instructor in advance of requiring such equipment or help.

Please note that cleaning-up at the end of each laboratory period is mandatory.

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test
(Final due dates may need to be re-adjusted)2,
Contribution to Final Mark (%) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Short Report



Oral Presentation and discussion of published research or commercially grown greenhouse crop 


2, 4

Participation in Class Lab Reporting


3, 4

Final Team Research Oral Presentation



Individual Laboratory Research Report 


1, 3, 4

Final Examination



Mid Term Quiz

15% 1


Final examination:

Please refer to Web Advisor for exam schedule and location.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:

There is no required text for this course. 

Recommended Texts:


Lab Manual:  


Other Resources:  

Lecture notes and other materials will be distributed to students via the CourseLink website or in Class Laboratory periods. 

Field Trips:


Additional Costs:  

Closed-toe shoes are required in the greenhouse and laboratory areas. Also a lab coat or clothing that can get a bit dirty should be worn when handling plant material and potting media.

Course Policies:

Grading Policies: 

For all assignments a penalty of minus 10% of the grade for that assignment will be deducted per late day unless academic consideration has been granted.

Course Policy on Group Work:

As indicated above both the Final written Term assignment and the final Laboratory report are to be submitted as Individual Reports.

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor. When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor. In addition, all lecture material such as notes or files provided by the instructors are solely for the use of the authorized student in this course and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Other Course Information:

University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

Academic Misconduct

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University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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