Bill Brar, co-owner of Canadian Valley Growers in Aldergrove, holds a sprouting Impatiens flower. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)

Bill Brar, co-owner of Canadian Valley Growers in Aldergrove, holds a sprouting Impatiens flower. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)

Langley greenhouse grows lettuce 30% faster with LED lighting

Aldergrove’s Canadian Valley Growers produces 50,000 heads of three different varieties per week

Bill Brar, co-owner of Canadian Valley Growers in Aldergrove, is paving the way for plant producers with a time-saving expansion into LED lighting that knocks his lettuce growing time down by 30 per cent.

Established in 1991 on a small, five acre site, the company has grown to its current two-million square feet of greenhouse space, covering 42 acres.

There, more than 120 different floral varieties, 40 different veggies including tomatoes, basil – plus 15 acres worth of peppers – are growing at Canadian Valley.

Brar said what sets his company apart is their wave of technological advancements that are not only altering the way plants are grown, but the speed at which they sprout.

“We want to be veggie central,” he said, though Brar explained that he fell into the business at a young age.

He believes vegetable gardening is a great way to get the next generation involved in gardening and maybe take more interest in farming.

“I like to think we’re in a bit of a planting and gardening renaissance right now. Everyone is planting, because it’s safe and rewarding,” he explained.

During a tour, Brar plucked a single plug of an impatiens sprout from hundreds in a carton, which he said got assembled that way solely by machines.

The bulk of Canadian Valley’s irrigation at its pepper site on Bradner Road comes from recycled rainwater.

But by far the biggest advancement is a new Signify lighting system installed last year.

“We grow butter lettuce, multi-leaf lettuce, and teen leaf [smaller, younger leaf] lettuce, and produce about 50,000 heads every week,” Brar explained.

That’s achieved by the Phillips LEDs hanging from the greenhouse ceilings. Seedlings spend two and a half weeks under lights for propagation and then another month in their greenhouses in Maple Ridge.

“It’s helps save energy, cuts down on crop times, and improves the actual look of the plant,” Brar explained. “[It’s] a better plant with heavier root mass and better colour.”

READ MORE: Langley museum devoted to farming history ready to open for season

Brar replaced high-pressure sodium lighting with the LEDs, which provide a more intense lighting at 220 micro moles during propagation and 110 micro moles at the plant’s finish. It’s a relatively new and underutilized method in the Fraser Valley.

“Support from Signify with the LEDs, which was a learning curve, has been great,” Brar said, adding the system will likely expand through the greenhouse to grow other veggies and plants.

The finished products from Canadian Valley Growers would have formerly ended up at big box stores, and home and garden centres, but yet another advancement for Brar will be a way to reach consumers directly.

“Ninety per cent of what is sold there is grown here,” Brar explained, noting May is when labour is at its absolute highest peak for his company because of skyrocketing plant sales.

“When you think about that, it’s not the month either. It’s four weekends – eight days. Eight days to sell your product. And if one of those days is rainy, no ones coming out to buy.”

Regardless of pressures or weather, Brar is pleased with the greenhouse advancements and is eager to continue to grow his business.

“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved,” he added.

More information can be found at canadianvalleygrowers.ca.


Have a story tip? Email: newsroom@aldergrovestar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Aldergrove

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Canadian Valley Growers in Aldergrove uses LED lighting to grow lettuce quicker. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)

Canadian Valley Growers in Aldergrove uses LED lighting to grow lettuce quicker. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)

Canadian Valley Growers in Aldergrove uses LED lighting to grow lettuce quicker. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)

Canadian Valley Growers in Aldergrove uses LED lighting to grow lettuce quicker. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)

Canadian Valley Growers in Aldergrove uses LED lighting to grow lettuce quicker. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)

Canadian Valley Growers in Aldergrove uses LED lighting to grow lettuce quicker. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)

Just Posted

Aldergrove Community Secondary. (Aldergrove Star files)
Noel Booth, Douglas Park, RE Mountain, and Aldergrove Secondary see positive COVID tests

As of Monday, May 10, 18 schools are currently on the Fraser Health exposure list

Langley’s Madison Sweeney a 5’8” forward who began her career playing for Walnut Grove Secondary, has signed with the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Cascades women’s soccer team. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley’s Madison Sweeney signs with UFV Cascades soccer team

UFV ‘checks all the boxes’ for former Walnut Grove player

Langley is home to a wide range of outstanding athletes, ranging from cycling champion Svein Tuft to MMA fighter Tristan Connelly and figure skating legend Karen Magnussen (files)
Making a list of Langley’s outstanding athletes

Website organizer is looking for suggestions

On hand for the presentation of a cheque to the Langley Food Bank was Jim Calamunce, executive director of the food bank (L), Langley City councillor Rudy Storteboom (centre) and Mike Partridge, manager of the South Langley IGA. (R) (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Shoppers at Langley IGA stores donate $10K to food bank

Customers showed ‘incredible generosity’ says store spokesperson

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in B.C.

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

Most Read