Spring Growth Conference

Saturday, March 3, 2018

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Common Ground Education Center, Unity

Organic Seedling Production

Registration (includes lunch):
$75 individual / $100 couples
$50 students and apprentices

There is no place more important to get off to a good start than growing seedlings for your farm. Weak or diseased seedlings rarely recover to produce timely and good crops. The program at Spring Growth this year will help you evaluate your production with topics from how to set up the production equipment (benches, containers, etc.), evaluate your soil mix, keep up the plant nutrition and avoid problems. Hear from farmers and service providers including Ann Mefferd, Mary Ellen Chadd, Alicyn Smart, Bruce Hoskins and Stephanie Burnett.


Registration and Check-In

10 – 10:45
Greenhouse Set-Up
with Stephanie Burnett, UMO Associate Professor of Horticulture

Proper greenhouse set-up will allow you to have an early start on the growing season. Learn how to evaluate heating and cooling systems to determine which would be the best fit. Stephanie will also discuss options for reducing fuel usage and heating sustainably. Finally, she will describe some of the options available for benching and floor coverings.

10:45 – 11:30
Evaluating Soil Mixes
with Bruce Hoskins, UMO Analytical Lab and Maine Soil Testing Service

Seedling starts and greenhouse bench production require different rooting/growing media and different management practices than what is normal for outside crop production. OMRI-approved organic growing media can now be purchased from several commercial sources. Growing media can also be produced yourself, following any of several proven recipes. Seeding mixes are especially difficult to produce and manage, due to the small volume of soil and the high sensitivity of new seedlings to soil and environmental conditions. Soil drainage and fertility problems commonly occur with any seeding mix, but especially with commercial or homemade organic mixes. Many of these problems can be anticipated, minimized, or avoided altogether with proper on-farm or laboratory monitoring and by following a few best management practices.

11:30 – 12
Q & A

12 – 12:45

12:45 – 1: 30
Hear from Farmers: Containers, soil blocks, trays benches, other infrastructure
featuring Ann Mefferd, Seedlings by Annie/One Drop Farm, and Mary Ellen Chadd of Green Spark Farm

1:30 – 2:15
Diseases in Seedlings
with Alicyn Smart D.P. M., Assistant Extension Professor & Plant Pathologist

This talk will be an overview of those pesky plant pathogens that like to feed on your poor seedlings and how to limit their presence. Follow these steps and you could get the best looking seedlings in your county!

2:15 – 2:45
Q & A

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