Trees that are grown in a greenhouse are exposed to "luxury conditions". This means they have more than enough nutrients, water, light and ideal temperatures than they need to grow. As a result the trees grow very quickly and can have very soft, lush tissue. In order for these trees to adapt to the sometimes harsh Saskatchewan climate they need to be gradually exposed to tougher conditions. We do this through a process simply called "Move Out". The first crop of the year, or the Current Crop, remains in the greenhouse for just under 5 months. In May the crop is moved outside to take advantage of our warm summer weather and allow space in the greenhouse for the sowing of the second crop, or Overwinter Crop. The overwinter crop remains in the greenhouse for about 3 months and then it too is moved outside. The trees remain in their original trays throughout this process.
Each tray is carried, by hand, from its place in the greenhouse to a two-tiered wagon at the nearest exit. The wagons are hauled to the shade frames at which point the trays are removed and placed on 2x4's on the ground. The shade frames are structures which provide a frame work for a shade cloth that can be spread over the crop to prevent scorching of sensitive tissues. As the season goes on and the trees acclimate to their outdoor environment, the shade curtains can be pulled back to allow for full sun exposure. Each shade frame is equipped with an irrigator which provides water and fertilization during the summer months.
The time outside allows the trees to become thicker and more hardy. As the fall comes on the trees harden off, their leaves change colour and drop, and buds form along the stems. This process is necessary for our trees to survive winter storage and give them the tools they need to grow again in the spring.