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GROW YOUR OWN FOOD A PRACTICAL INTRODUCTORY COURSE December 7, 2013 Raluca Mocanu & Edward Wazer Shundahai Farm.

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Presentation on theme: "GROW YOUR OWN FOOD A PRACTICAL INTRODUCTORY COURSE December 7, 2013 Raluca Mocanu & Edward Wazer Shundahai Farm."— Presentation transcript:

1 GROW YOUR OWN FOOD A PRACTICAL INTRODUCTORY COURSE December 7, 2013 Raluca Mocanu & Edward Wazer Shundahai Farm

2 Starting Requirements for Successful Growing 9:05-9:30 Sun Exposure (Ed) 9:30-9:55Soil Fertility (Raluca) 9:55-10:15Animal Management – Fencing & Rodent Problems (Ed) Preparing the Growing Area 10:15-10:40Soil Preparation (Ed) 10:40-10:50Break 10:50-11:30Plant/Seed Selection, Planting Times, Spacing, Methods (Raluca) Ongoing Maintenance 11:30-11:45Weeds (Raluca) 11:45-12:00Insects (Raluca) 12:00-12:45Lunch 12:45-1:00Common Diseases (Raluca) 1:00-1:30Water (Ed) The Harvest, Putting Garden to Rest, Resources, and Field Walk 1:30-1:45Harvest Frequency & Storage Information (Raluca) 1:45-1:55Putting garden to rest for the year (Raluca) 1:55-2:00Resources (Raluca) 2:00-4:00Field Walk – Tools, row covers, mulch, covercrops, seed spacing, etc. Agenda

3 Starting Requirements Sun Soil Water Animal Protection

4 Sun Exposure Help you Determine Hours of sun your site will receive Influence of time of year Questions to ask Yourself What do I want to grow? What time of year do I expect to grow? Will I Cut Trees?

5 Sun Exposure E W S Understand Your Site Where is North? Are there trees around your garden site? What will their impact be? Are you on a slope? Assessing Garden Placement Determine what your plants will experience Face the sun at noon Fall backwards Stretch arms to side – E/W Sunrise at equinox N

6 Sun Exposure We’ll Look at arc and sun angle for: June 21 – longest day of the year April 21/Aug 21 – 2 months earlier/later Feb 21/Oct 21 – 2 months earlier/later Dec 21 – 2 months earlier/late – shortest day of the year

7 Sun Exposure June & July Sun swings a large arc 15 hours of sun, 5:15am-8:30pm Sun is almost directly overhead (72 o ) at mid- day Trees East & West will have the greatest impact on your planting Growing Info Most crops love June, but some crops won’t like the heat of July E N June 21 st Summer Solstice E W S

8 Sun Exposure April→May & Aug→Sept Sun swings a large arc 13.5 hours of sun Sun is relatively high (61 o ) in the sky at noon Again, trees East & West will likely have the greatest impact on your planting Growing Info Excellent time of year to grow Be careful of frosts through mid-May N Apr 21 st / Aug 21 st E W S

9 Sun Exposure Feb→Mar & Oct-Nov 11 hours of sun Trees in the arc from SE to SW will have the greatest impact on your growing Sun low in the sky (38 o ) Growing Info Slow growth, but can get a jump in the spring, and crops in the fall will hold on Spring and fall will require plastic N Feb 21 st / Oct 21 st E W S

10 Sun Exposure December → January Only a small arc around due South is critical 9 hours of sun The sun is very low (25 o ) in the sky and trees to the South must be far away from the planting area Growing Info Only a few plants will grow at this time of year; minimal growth occurs Plastic covers required N E W S December 21 st Winter Solstice

11 Sun Exposure Hours of Sunlight at different times of the year and different distances from a tree line

12 Sun Exposure Solar Radiation Day length & angle of incidence impact ⅓ to ½ energy available cold months relative to summer Note that March & April are better than October High Growth Months Slow Growth Months

13 Sun Exposure Take home messages If trees surround your garden and are 50 feet away or less – hot weather crops will not thrive For late spring / summer season, focus on cutting trees East and West of garden If you want to extend season into the fall, cut trees to the south March and especially April get plenty of sun – plant early! If shade is a fact of life: – check out Mother Earth News – Best Shade-Tolerant Vegetables By Colleen Vanderlinden

14 Sun Exposure Questions?

15 SOIL FERTILITY What good soil looks like: – granulation (crumbly, stable), aeration (porous), water infiltration – Organic Matter, soil cover, soil biology are key Soil tests: why, when, how to take? – Why: mineral levels, humus, indicative of biological activity – Soil contamination – Lead, Arsenic, other heavy metals? Test if suspected.

16 SOIL FERTILITY Soil tests: why, when, how to take? – When: fall, before ground is frozen Consistency is very important – How: Soil probe and follow instructions – Where we go: Crop Services International (CSI) – How often: yearly for first 3 years, then every other year

17 SOIL FERTILITY Interpreting soil test results – Sample soil test report – Recommendations & consultation with CSI Follow-up: – Order soil amendments from Fedco – Plan and follow a basic fertility program

18 SOIL FERTILITY Basic fertility program: what to apply, when 1.Broadcast rock powders to balance minerals 2.Compost for organic matter and to sustain biological activity 3.Liquid fertilizers: fish and seaweed to sustain biology

19 SOIL FERTILITY Compost: important for organic matter and to stimulate biology – On new ground, start with ~1in. – Decrease in future years as humus level increases – Too little or too much compost can be problematic – Blue Slope – pick up with your own vehicle or small deliveries possible (delivery ~ $50 for 4yard truck) – Beltane Farm / Kato Corner

20 SAMPLE SOIL TEST REPORT

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23 SAMPLE SOIL TEST RECOMMENDATIONS

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26 SOIL FERTILITY Questions?

27 Animal Management Fencing needed for… Deer Woodchucks Rabbits Raccoons Other furry pests… Rodents: mice, moles, voles, shrews

28 Animal Management Deer – What you need – 8 feet fence recommended – 6-7 feet may work for small garden – Posts Cedar or Metal – Fencing Plastic or Metal – Gate

29 Cedar Posts buried 2½-3ft – (need 11ft pole) Space 25ft apart Posthole digger & metal bar best for digging hole Time: ½ hour per hole Cost: $15-25 per post Where: Lou Chilly, Chaplin , or craigslist Animal Management

30 Metal Posts likely need two poles bolted together – bolt together after pounding in the ground Support is needed, rope or cable to the ground to a metal bar – These supports are annoying (trip over, mow around)

31 Animal Management Metal Posts (continued) Post pounder needed – sledge hammer destroys the post for bolting together Space 10-15ft part Time: 5 minutes per post Cost: $8 per section (two metal posts) Where: Mansfield Supply, Willard's, Thompsons, Mackeys, John’s scrap metal

32 Animal Management Fencing Plastic (available from Mansfield Supply, Thompsons) – Advantages: very inexpensive ($30 for 100ft X 7ft) Fairly easy to install – Disadvantages: deer may rip through it, can’t see it at night Buttons of shirts always getting hung up on it

33 Animal Management Fencing (continued) Metal – chicken wire or other metal fence (available from Thompsons) – Advantages: Deer won’t get through Keeps out woodchucks (if buried) – Disadvantages: More expensive and harder to install

34 Animal Management Gate – Options Make out of wood – Use chicken wire or finer mesh – Wood available from Willards, Mansfield Supply – Chicken wire or mesh from Mansfield Supply, Willards or Chain link – Buy used from John’s scrap metal, off of Rt. 6 (Columbia) No gaps at bottom, keep out woodchucks – Sill to prevent from going under

35 Animal Management Woodchucks, Rabbits, Raccoons Woodchucks – Can be devastating to a garden Rabbits – moderate pest, much less than woodchuck Raccoons – known for eating corn (and killing chickens)

36 Animal Management Woodchucks, Rabbits, Raccoons Keeping them out – Woodchucks will dig under fences Need to bury chicken wire 1 ft deep around garden – Woodchucks and Raccoons will climb over Wire should extend at least a few feet above ground and “sewn” with upper fence – Chicken wire from Mansfield Supply or Thompsons – Other Options for Woodchucks Flush them out of their hole, deluge of water Have-a-Heart traps Easy to shoot with a.22 rifle

37 Animal Management Rodents: Mice, Moles, Voles, Shrews Can be devastating to roots, tubers and even spinach Solutions – Cats - we have little to no damage since getting cats They must have access to the garden – Snap traps at rodent hole entrances Dig a small trench at entrance holes Use wooden traps with yellow “cheese” Bait with peanut butter, re-bait every few days

38 Animal Management Questions?

39 Soil Preparation From Sod to Garden Soil Goals – Kill sod, including quackgrass – Eliminate thick fibrous roots – Loosen subsoil Different Methods – Double-digging – Mulch Coverage – Clear Plastic Burn – Mechanical Tillage – Raised Beds

40 Soil Preparation Double-digging Process – Dig a trench the width of the garden, one foot deep, placing soil on surface or in wheelbarrow – Loosen soil at bottom of trench using spading fork – Expand the 1 foot deep trench, putting the new soil from the top 1 foot into the previous trench Flop over sod, putting at bottom of 1 foot trench Mix in compost at the same time – Continue for the entire garden area

41 Soil Preparation Double-digging (cont) Pros – Best method for the long-term success of your garden – Can plant soon after Con – A lot of work Sources: John Jeavons: How to Grow More Vegetables

42 Soil Preparation Mulch Coverage Process – Put 1 inch layer of manure or compost over garden area – Put 12 inches of mulch: leaves, hay or straw over garden area – Weed whenever something starts growing through mulch – Wait one year – Remove mulch and plant (do not incorporate mulch!) Pros: – Very healthy for the soil – Minimal effort Cons: – Takes one year – Sub-soil not loosened

43 Soil Preparation Clear Plastic Burn Process – Lay clear plastic over garden area – Weigh down edges, tighter the better – Wait months – Loosen using a shovel, till lightly or mulch over winter Pros: – Easy – Kills quackgrass Cons: – Need to do at the hottest time of the year – Sub-soil not loosened

44 Soil Preparation Mechanical Tillage Process – Put 1 inch layer of manure or compost over garden area – Till garden with roto-tiller – Wait 4 weeks, depending on soil structure, till again – Loosen soil with rake and Plant Pros – Its fast and easy – Good growth first year – Breaks up sod Cons – Causes soil compaction and damages soil structure – Sub-soil not loosened – Need to rent or buy tiller, or hire someone

45 Soil Preparation Raised Beds Process – Build raised bed structure to desired height (8 to 12 inches) – Width of 3’ reasonable, length as much as desired – Bring in quality soil: mix of fill, topsoil and compost/manure Pros – Excellent for wet soils, raised beds will stay drier – Can plant immediately – Weeds won’t encroach – Slightly less bending Cons – A lot of work – Need to find uncontaminated soil – Bed barriers will rot, or you’ll need to use pressure treated wood

46 Soil Preparation Questions?

47 PLANT AND SEED SELECTION How many plants and of what type? – consider growing area – yields – planting & harvest schedules – crop needs (trellising, picking, covering) – pests & disease Make a week-by-week planting schedule Plan to feed your family year-round from your garden

48 Week-by-week planting schedule (field and soil blocks) Field Map (bed ID, crop, dates)

49 PLANT AND SEED SELECTION Sequential plantings for continual harvest Hybrid vs. Heirloom: taste, productivity, vigor, seed saving Seed Suppliers (none of these carry GM) – Johnny’s Selected Seeds (johnnyseeds.com) – Fedco (fedcoseeds.com) – High Mowing Organic Seeds (highmowingseeds.com)

50 PLANT AND SEED SELECTION Seed Storage/Life – Cool, dry place (freezer) – Onions, parsley, parsnip – 1 year; 3 years for most other crops – When in doubt, use new seed Inoculate seeds for improved plant health & yields: – Myco Seed Treatment (mychorrhizal fungi-covers for veggies and legumes; Fedco $50) – Garden Combination Legume Inoculant $5 (Rhizobium bacteria - Johnny’s and Fedco)

51 PLANTING TIMES Plant crops considering frost dates Frost dates in CT ( data): – Last frost date: 3 rd week of May – First frost date: 1st week of October Plant crops at their most favorable time of the season: – Weather – Insect & disease cycles ex: radishes – insects ex: cucumbers – disease

52 PLANTING TIMES ● Highs for that day ● Lows for that day ▬ Rolling Average High ▬ Rolling Average Avg ▬ Rolling Average Low

53 PLANT SPACING AND METHODS Direct seeding vs. transplanting Benefits of Transplanting: – better care of seedlings – jump start over weeds – can handle rougher ground – no thinning – can transplant into mulch

54 Drawbacks of Transplanting : – possible transplanting shock/setback – some plants do not transplant (carrots, beets) – need supplies (potting soil, pots or soil block maker) – have to plan ahead (schedule) Buy seedlings from reputable, disease free source PLANT SPACING AND METHODS Direct seeding vs. transplanting

55 Seeding soil blocks Seedlings coming up

56 PLANT SPACING AND METHODS Direct Seeding Start with well prepared seed bed Use correct seeding rate (ref: our chart) Weed & water regularly, especially when plants are small Thin if necessary (beets, carrots particularly important )

57 PLANT SPACING AND METHODS Map your garden area – Grid your garden (ex: Bed A, Section 3) – Arrange crops so all have adequate sun – Rotate plant families to minimize disease & pest problems

58 PLANT AND SEED SELECTION PLANT SPACING AND METHODS

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62 Questions?

63 WATER How much do plants need When do plants need it How to calculate watering times

64 WATER Our rule of thumb: 1 inch water/week (rain + irrigation) Soil observation is important Lack of water or too much water both cause serious problems Rain gage strongly recommended (Johnny’s or Fedco) – proper placement is important – What a weather station in Windham receives can be much different

65 Keep track of rain fall and watering amounts Critical watering times: – At seeding and transplanting – During germination and until plants develop a mature root system (2+ weeks) – Other growth stages: plant dependent (ex: potatoes, beets, cucumbers) WATER

66 Straw or hay mulch prevents soil from drying Irrigation: – overhead (watering can, wand or sprinklers) – drip tape – buried soaker hose Watering should be done with a gentle shower! Water in early morning – watering during hot- sunny part of day wastes water and crusts soil WATER

67 Watering in the evening can cause problems with leaves being wet overnight Keep water in the root region. Wet leaves for long periods can lead to disease Optimize frequency and amount of watering – Not too much, not too little, not too often… Know the flow rate of your watering device: fill a 5gal bucket and time how long it takes. Record how much water you’re putting down each time you water. WATER

68 Example of Watering Records Keep track of rain crop bed Plant date When it needs to be watered Target 1” per week √

69 WATER

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71 Questions? WATER

72 WEEDS Weed regularly Don’t let the weeds go to seed Do not use herbicides Pull weeds out by the root or cut below the soil line

73 WEEDS MULCH Helps control weeds Straw is better than hay because it won’t drop seeds Hay is better than bare soil For heat loving crops (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash), wait until soil has warmed up (70F, early summer) before mulching

74 WEEDS HOEING We use wheel hoe, hand hoes, standup hoes, grub hoes, cobra weeder Works well when weeds are small, and with proper technique (practice!) Helps soil aeration especially if you have crusty soil or soil compaction Too much leads to oxidation of organic matter

75 WEEDS HAND WEEDING Takes longer than hoeing but can be more effective and longer-lasting When we direct seed a bed, we hoe it once or twice when the plants first come up and weeds are small, and any weeding after that is by hand

76 WEEDS Keeping the garden weed free pays back in future – weeds will gradually become less of a problem Certain periods are more challenging / critical than others Plan to be on top of weeds during growth spurt in early summer, and when plants are small

77 WEEDS Questions?

78 Beneficials Pollinators - needed by many plants Control pests by eating or parasitizing them Need water and source of nectar Pests Pests are outnumbered by beneficials and other insects INSECTS

79 BENEFICIALS Plant herbs and flowers to attract them (dill, carrot, queen anne’s lace, cosmos, mustard family, cilantro, basil, clovers, etc.) Let them go to flower! Some beneficials we see: different kinds of wasps, tachinid flies, praying mantids, lady beetles, assassin bugs, spiders, lace wings, ground beetles, etc. INSECTS

80 INSECTS Common Pests Colorado Potato BeetleFlea Beetles Tomato Horn WormCross Striped Cabbage Worm Imported Cabbage Butterfly

81 Tomato Horn Worms with and without parasitic wasps Beneficial Insects on dill: Honeybee and wasps

82 PESTS: Flea beetles on brassicas – cause problems in spring; – can be significant problem on eggplant – use row covers – hand pick when wet/cool (tedious) Colorado Potato Beetle: – regular inspection and hand picking – recognize and kill adults and larvae INSECTS

83 PESTS: Tomato horn worm – regular inspection – hand pick except for parasitized ones Cucumber beetles, squash bugs, bean beetles – regular inspection, hand pick, destroy eggs Root Maggots – Radishes, turnips – Worse in spring – shift planting to fall INSECTS

84 PESTS: Squash borer – find location and hand remove Imported cabbage worm, cross striped cabbage moth – use row covers; – hand remove; – soak broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower heads in salt water after harvest INSECTS

85 Pests Leaf miners: – chard, beet leaves, less on spinach; – squish larva borrowed in leaves Cutworms: – active in spring until June; – dig around plant with damage and kill the worm INSECTS

86 Pests Aphids: – may signal too much N – hand remove and/or wash off at harvest – Lady Beetles will eat them Slugs – like moisture - maximize ventilation – hand remove INSECTS

87 General Recommendations Healthy plants are less susceptible to pests – make soil health a priority Do not use pesticides (harmful to non- target insects) Identify pests and their different stages (eggs, larvae, adult) Make sure you’re not killing beneficials or other insects INSECTS

88 General Recommendations (cont.) Schedule planting to avoid pest cycles Mulch may harbor pests like slugs but overall we believe benefits outweigh drawbacks Inspect plants regularly and keep garden tidy INSECTS

89 Questions? INSECTS

90 COMMON DISEASES General Recommendations: Crop rotation, soil fertility / health, and basic field hygiene minimize disease Avoid disease prone times when designing planting schedule Do not use fungicides or anything that harms soil life Purchase plants from trusted sources

91 COMMON DISEASES Do not touch plants leaves when wet Do not touch healthy plants after diseased ones. Remove diseased plant parts from the garden. Avoid fungal diseases with good air circulation. Look into disease resistant varieties when purchasing seed.

92 COMMON DISEASES Diseases We Experienced: Cercospora: – beets, chard, carrot leaves – prolonged high humidity and heat are problematic (August) Early blight & septoria on tomatoes: – avoid wet leaves – mulch – trellis to encourage good air circulation

93 COMMON DISEASES Late Blight on tomatoes and potatoes: Very serious - rapidly kills plants Know where your plants come from Avoid wet leaves, esp. overnight and during cooler periods (70F and lower) Trellis tomatoes for good air circulation Do not touch plants when wet/dewy Remove diseased plants from field

94 COMMON DISEASES Mildews on cucumbers and squashes for plantings July and later. Plant early (June) Mildews on Basil: plant no later than 1 st week of June Fungal diseases on lettuces: plant early and use disease resistant varieties

95 Septoria / Early Blight on tomato leaves Cercospora on beet leaves Trellised tomato plants: support, air circulation, ease of harvest

96 COMMON DISEASES Questions?

97 THE HARVEST Some vegetables need to be harvested promptly and regularly (ex: broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra). Others are more flexible (ex: chard, kale, carrots, beets). Lettuces, spinach, greens such as arugula, mustard, mizuna, bok choi and other brassicas will bolt in the spring if not harvested on time

98 THE HARVEST Some vegetables produce all season (kale, chard), others produce heaviest in a smaller window of time (cucumbers, broccoli, etc.) Some veggies store for months under the right conditions (ex: root veggies), others only days. Be prepared to do something with your vegetables (plan your harvest)

99 THE HARVEST Prepare meals around what’s in the garden (in-season cooking) Use long-term storage techniques – freezing (blanching or not) – canning (hot water bath vs. pressure canning) – dehydrating (dehydrator or oven) – fermentation

100 Short and Long Term Storage Information

101 THE HARVEST Questions?

102 PUTTING THE GARDEN TO REST Remove plant debris Protect the soil with mulch or cover crop MULCH Cover the ground with thick layer of straw or hay mulch Keeps soil from eroding and oxidizing Helps earthworm / biological activity

103 PUTTING THE GARDEN TO REST COVER CROP: – Plant after harvest, by September – Rye, vetch, clover, pea combination does well (Johnny’s fall green manure) – Many types available for different purposes

104 PUTTING THE GARDEN TO REST COVER CROP BENEFITS: – Prevents erosion – Sustains soil biology over winter and early spring – Suppresses weeds – Increases soil organic matter

105 PUTTING THE GARDEN TO REST COVER CROP DRAWBACKS: – Needs to be managed Plant early Incorporate on time, giving enough time to break down Or remove by hand before planting other crops – May encourage certain pests

106 PUTTING THE GARDEN TO REST Questions?

107 Tools Soil Testing Probe Shovel / Spade: for initial work area preparation Tools for seed bed preparation: wheel cultivator (Lehman’s ~$100); three tooth cultivator (Johnny’s $44), regular rake, leaf rakes Cobrahead weeder for soil preparation and weeding (Johnny’s $25) Hoes for weeds and soil aeration: wheel hoe (Lehman’s ~$100); stand up hoe (Colinear Hoe Johnny’s $35)and hand hoes (Johnny’s $16). Hose & Watering wands / waterning cans / sprinklers (Wonder Waterer, Johnny’s $40) Rain Gage (Johnny’s $5) Earthway Seeder - Johnny’s ~$109 Potting Soil – McEnroe / Johnny’s/Willimantic Food Co-op Soil Block Maker 2” & 4” – Johnny’s ($30 & $99); Willimantic Food Co-op Tray for mixing potting soil 5 gallon bucket Wheel barrow

108 USEFUL RESOURCES Wheeler, Philip and Ward, Ronald: The Non-Toxic Farming Handbook – Good, in-depth resource for soil fertility (including soil testing), from the people who established Crop Services International. Coleman, Eliot: The New Organic Grower – Covers the most important aspects of growing; geared to small farmers. Denckla, Tanya: The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing – Provides crop-specific as well as general information for gardeners. Rodale: Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening – Great overall reference. Rodale’s Successful Gardening: Controlling Pests and Disease – Basic information and good pictures on pests & diseases. Whitney and Cranshaw: Garden Insects of North America – Excellent, comprehensive resource for insect identification. This is the book we go to when we have insect problems.

109 USEFUL RESOURCES Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences: Identifying Diseases of Vegetables – Has good pictures for easy identification of common diseases. Greene, Janet; Hetrzberg, Ruth; & Vaughan Beatrice: Putting Food By – Excellent resource covering most practical methods of food storage and preservation; includes recipes. Katz, Sandor: Wild Fermentation – Great resource on why and how of fermentation, with many practical recipes. The Natural Farmer, published by NOFA 4 times per year – Geared for organic farmers of our size or larger; good publication to get you acquainted with various aspects of farming, from growing practices to food politics. The Natural Farmer - Special Supplement on Food Preservation, Fall 2013 – This issue gives an excellent overview of different methods of food preservation

110 USEFUL RESOURCES The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener – Another periodical, form Maine, similar to The Natural Farmer in what it covers.

111 BACKUP

112 Sun Exposure Sun position throughout the day

113 ROW COVERS Offer frost protection Insect protection Extra heat/faster growth in spring, fall & winter Reduce light transmitted to plants Plants in the ground from October to May should be protected against frost Available at Johnny’s, Fedco, Nolt’s, and other suppliers

114 ROW COVERS Depending on type, can be used directly on plants or with hoop tunnels Need to be vented to prevent overheating Difficult in windy conditions For some crops, row covers must be removed at flowering to allow insect pollination (ex: cucumbers, squashes, melons)


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