"Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth."
- Walt Whitman



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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

Registration Fees (includes lunch)
$75 individual; $30 additional person; $50 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.

It is geared for those who are looking to gain a greater understanding of the biology and ecology behind better soil, pest and disease management, weed management and hence better crops and healthier livestock.

Lectures by Eric Sideman, MOFGA’s Vegetable Specialist

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


Course Outline

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
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.  Farmer Presentation
A local farmer will present details about their growing system. Details to be provided later.

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
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
Who needs to get certified and how to do it.


X.  Farmer Presentation

A local farmer will present details about their growing system. Details to be provided later.

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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