Participants in the New Entry Farmer Training Program and all Farm Business Planning Class graduates and the general public are welcome to attend our bi-monthly Spring/Summer Field Training Series. These on-farm workshops focus on building practical skills on topics including organic agricultural production and marketing, food and farm safety, greenhouse management, small equipment use and maintenance, pest management, irrigation, and soil and water conservation and provide the practical field component of our farmer training program.
All field trainings take place at one of New Entry's farm incubator sites; the site is noted in the field training schedule below. The Ogonowski Memorial Fields address is 100 Jones Ave, Dracut, MA and the Smith-Healy Farm address is 300 Jones Ave, Dracut. The field trainings are free for graduates of New Entry's Farm Business Planning Course and Farmer Training Program, and $20 for the general public. It is helpful if you can email Janel Wright if you plan to attend a field training at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2016 Spring/Summer Field Training Series:
Tuesday, May 3rd, 4-6 pm @ Smith-Healy Farm
Field Preparation: Making Beds and Plant Spacing
We will go over the Order of Operations of getting your field from its fallow state to Ready-to-go! There will be tractor, BSC and hand tool demonstrations for you—to make sure you are informed and prepared with a variety of ways to prepare your field for planting. We will go over bed/field layout, plant spacing and demonstrate tools for making rows. We will also tackle the “pathways!”—what to do with them—mulch or no mulch/how wide should they be.
Tuesday, May 17th, 4-6 pm @ Ogonowski Memorial Fields
Weed Management: Mulching and In-Bed Fertility
It’s never too early to start managing (I mean killing) your weeds. This workshop will focus on getting weeds early, at the white thread stage. We will demonstrate and practice killing weeds with a variety of tools—flame weeder, walk-behind-tractor, all sorts of different hoes and hand weeding. We will also go over different mulch ideas that might work for your farm system. We will also discuss top and side dressing your beds—in-the-bed fertility to make sure you are feeding your plants in ways that help them jump in front of the weeds!
Tuesday, May 31st, 4-6 pm @ Smith-Healy Farm
Food Safety, Wash Station Set-up, Best Harvest Practices, and Good Recordkeeping
Now, as you are coming upon your harvest season, it’s the time to remind ourselves of food safety, best harvest practices, good record keeping and vegetable washing/cooling methods. We are in a time of paramount importance and emphasis on following food safety regulations. We want to make sure that our systems are in line with and mindful of these practices. We will review some regulations and review our wash station set-ups and policies. We will also review best and safest harvest practices and ideas for record keeping!
Tuesday, June 14th, 4-6 pm @ Ogonowski Memorial Fields
Whether you have already set up all of your drip tape—or you have never heard the word drip tape…this is your chance to practice setting up and using both drip and overhead irrigation. We will talk about each method of watering—their benefits and drawbacks. We will discuss water conservation practice, best times to irrigate and specific water needs of our crops. Hopefully you will leave this workshop ready to install your own irrigation system. We will also provide you will catalogs and resources that you may need to purchase your own system.
CANCELLED: Tuesday, June 28th, 4-6 pm @ Smith-Healy Farm
Pest and Disease Management & Safe Spraying Practices
In this workshop we will tackle some of the most common disease and pest pressures that we are likely to encounter in our farm season. We will go over methods of prevention, use of beneficial insects and cultural controls. We will talk about scouting and thresholds and what and when we may need to spray. We will discuss why to and not to spray and how to do so safely and minimally. You will hopefully leave this workshop being able to identify a few common pests and diseases and be able to create a basic game plan to combat this unfortunate aspect of organic farming!
Update 6/22/16: Please note that this workshop has been cancelled for the time being; please check back on our website for updates!
CANCELLED:Tuesday, July 12th, 4-6 pm @ Smith-Healy Farm
Weed Management: Part 2
This is another round of weed management and mulching. If you missed the first class, or if you are finding yourself literally lost in the weeds–this is for you. We will hopefully spend some of our time lending a hand in each other’s fields, doing some weeding, identifying common weeds and talking about best practices for dealing with what happens when weeds get out of control!
Update 7/6/16: Please note that this workshop has been cancelled for the time being; please check back on our website for updates!
Tuesday, August 9th, 4-6 pm @ Ogonowski Memorial Fields
The first step in growing great crops in building healthy soil. One of the best ways to do this is by planting “green manure” or, cover crops. We will discuss the importance of cover crops and their benefits to the soil and to providing nutrients to your crops. Cover crops can feed the soil, suppress weeds and create habitat for beneficial insects. Lets’ see how we can incorporate cover crops into your farm system.
Tuesday, September 6th, 4-6 pm @ Smith-Healy Farm
Season Extension and Ideas on Late Season Crops
More and more, farmers are working well into the winter—even in our climate! In this workshop we will talk about how you can extend your season through the use of reemay, plastic and crop choices that are hearty or even over-winter. You can extend your season, and money-making potential with these tips on season extension!
For more information about the Spring/Summer Field Series, contact New Entry's office at 978-654-6745.