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MOFGA's Organic Farming Short Course

Organic Farming: Principles and Practice

Two-part course held on March 18 and 25, 2015
10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days

Viles Arboretum, Viles Room
153 Hospital Street, Augusta, Maine

$75 individual; $30 additional person; $30 apprentice/student;
FREE journeypersons;
$45 per single-day registration

Our two-part course, Organic Farming: Principles and Practice, is designed to provide farmers with a strong background in soils, weeds and pest management, enabling them to make good management decisions.

Lectures by Eric Sideman, MOFGA’s Vegetable Specialist

Guest lecturers, including local farmers, will also speak and join the discussion.



Course Outline

Thursday, March 27, 2014
10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

I.  Properties of Soil
What is soil?
Soil texture and structure
Organic matter, plant nutrients and pH

II.  Testing soil
Taking the sample and reading the results

III.  Soil Husbandry and Sources of Plant Nutrition
Managing soil organic matter and building fertility

IV.  Composting
Biology and chemistry of the pile
How to make and use compost


V.  Adding Value to Crops and Marketing Them (Cheryl Wixson)
BEFORE choosing which crops to grow, determine what would sell well and how to sell it.  If adding value by processing food then safety and kitchen licensing must be considered.

VI.  Organic Certification
Who needs to get certified and how to do it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014
10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

VII.  Crop Rotation & Green Manures
Benefits of crop rotation
Choosing which green manure is best for the situation

VIII.  Insects and Diseases
Understanding Pest Control
Using crop rotation, sanitation, barriers, microbial pesticides, botanical pesticides, copper and other materials

IX.  Livestock

Diane Schivera,
MOFGA's livestock specialist, will present the basics of feeding, breeding and healthcare of livestock on an organic farm.


X.  Farmer Presentation

Ben Marcus,
who farms Sheepscot General Farm in Whitefield, Maine, will introduce his farm. He produces small fruit and vegetables that he sells through his farm store, a CSA, farmers market and some wholesale too. Ben has a wealth of experience in all sorts of markets and all sorts of production. He will tell us how it really happens on the ground.

XI. Weed Management
Weed Ecology
Crop rotation and cover crops to manage weeds
Cultivation tools; hand and tractor

XII.  Open Discussion and Wrap Up



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