Small Farm Program offers spring series

  • Friday, April 1, 2011

       

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (March 9, 2011) - Farmers on Maryland's lower Eastern Shore can bank on the benefits from a series of upcoming during the month of April.  Beginning Saturday, April 2, and each of the next three Saturdays through April 23, the Small Farm Program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore will host informative, hands-on workshops and field days. 

    Saturday, April 2, begins the soil science long course. It is designed to increase the farmer's knowledge of soils, the life forms that live in them and to show how to improve the quality of the land. Gordon Johnson, farmer and specialist with the University of Delaware Extension office, leads a discussion of the basics of soils and soil science in the Food Science and Technology Center on the UMES campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Follow-up sessions will be held every Wednesday thereafter through the month of April.

    Ted Wycall, a local farmer, discusses cover cropping systems, how to improve the soil and how to interpret soil test results from 7-to-9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6, in the Richard A. Henson Center, Room 1111. Part two of the Wycall session will be held Wednesday, April 13, from 7-9 p.m.  Dr. Bessie Green, UMES researcher, continues the long course on April 20 and April 27 at the same location and time. Her talks will shed a light on the life forms, microbes and animals that live in the soils.  She will also discuss methods to increase the beneficial forms and manage the "bad guys."

    The economics of growing fruits and vegetables in a high tunnel will be discussed on Saturday, April 9, on a Seaford, Del., farm, where one farmer has experienced his first season of growing. The event begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon at 4091 Woodland Ferry Road.  Production issues and crop choices for growing in a high tunnel will also be topics of discussion.  Participants also will be able to observe a system in active production, and hear a Natural Resources and Conservation representative discuss USDA programs that support high tunnel production. 

    Irrigation will be the focus of a field day on Saturday, April 16 from 9 a.m. to noon at UMES'e Food Science and Technology Center. Farmers will receive information about different kinds of irrigation systems, the cost of running and maintaining irrigation systems and the benefits of using irrigation.  A demonstration of a drip-tape irrigation system will be on display for farmers interested in learning how it is set up and how it works. Pre-registration and a $10 fee are required to reserve a spot for the Irrigation Field Day.  Lunch and educational materials will be provided.  In addition, one home garden irrigation kit will be given away as a door prize.

    A Saturday, April 23, event rounds out the Small Farm Program series.  A poultry workshop is planned for farmers who raise turkeys, ducks and chickens.  Breed selection, disease management, rodent control and housing are among the topics scheduled for discussion.  Discussions will also cover the regulations for selling eggs and on-farm poultry processing for off-farm sale.  The workshop will be held in the Food Science and Technology Center from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  The cost is $10, which includes lunch and all educational materials.

    The Small Farm Program series is sponsored by the U