Gemmell's Environmental Commitment
Since our business is based in horticulture, caring for a greener and more sustainable environment is high on our priority list! There are several ways that we work everyday to support sustainability.
Here at Gemmell’s, we have made a strong commitment to incorporate the use of beneficial insects and bio-pesticides and fungicides.
Our grower Matt has introduced many environmentally friendly pest & disease management practices into his IPM in the last number of years. So much so that now biological controls make up 90% of our treatment and maintenance plan in the greenhouses!
Every single hanging basket and planter in our 24 greenhouses has a beneficial insect sachet placed in them at planting time. These mites are a natural predator to thrips. Matt also uses parasitic wasps in the greenhouses to help control aphids. These beneficial insects work to maintain a healthy environment in the greenhouse and reduce the chances of having to spray.
Nematodes are used to control thrips, shore flies and fungus gnats. Bio-pesticides and fungicides are also a strong part of our environmental practices which use naturally occurring fungus or bacteria to control pests and diseases.
Although this is a more costly way to grow our plants we feel the benefits far outweigh the expense.
Inevitably plastic is a big part of greenhouse growth. Every plant is grown in a plastic pot and displayed in a plastic tray. How can we fix this? Well, a few years back we branded our pots with the Gemmell’s logo and started to encourage our customers to bring them back for us to reuse. Then in 2019, we decided to implement a $1 refundable charge on the plastic flats that people use to carry their plants out. This was in an effort to get people to return them for a refund the next time they came in. And you know what happened? Most of our amazing customers were more than happy to pay and return the trays while others started bringing their own bags or boxes to transport their plants. We are hopeful that this program works to reduce the number of pots & trays that go to the landfill!
Fibre pots are another way that we try and reduce our impact on the environment. All of our veggies are now grown in compostable fibre pots called Eco Grow. These pots will break down so you can throw them right into your composter. Our 12” Victorian Hanging Baskets are also grown in these fibre pots. We love them because not only do they compost but we find they don’t dry out as fast and the plants are happier and healthier.
In 2010 the Ontario Government banned pesticides and chemicals for home use. This movement made it so much easier for us here at Gemmell’s to not only streamline our plant pharmacy section but feel good about selling our customers less harmful products. We also have expanded our line of organic fertilizers for those who choose to feed their plants this way.
Through education and advice, we try and encourage our customers to grow healthy plants which are less susceptible to disease and pests. Whether it's your fruit trees, roses, veggies lawn or flowers we want you to have the best success while treading lightly on the environment.
Buy LocalDid you know all the trees and shrubs you buy here at Gemmell’s are from Ontario or Quebec suppliers? We feel strongly about buying nursery stock that is grown in the climate that we live in. Nothing comes from BC or Oregon for two reasons; one is we prefer to buy plants grown in our area to ensure hardiness for our customers but another very important factor in making this decision is to reduce trucking distances and therefore reduce our carbon footprint. It’s a small choice but many small decisions can make a big impact.
Birds & BeesPlants that occur naturally in an area are called native or indigenous species. Here at Gemmell’s, we try not only to grow & carry a variety of native plants but also plants that feed the birds, bees and butterflies. These varieties are often hardier and live longer while supplying food. Planting native plants is vital to preserving biodiversity. By incorporating native plants into your garden, you become part of a collective effort to nurture and sustain the living landscape for birds and other animals.