Extension, Local First host winter crops field day

Story Submitted (mtfrontdesk@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: Feb. 7, 2013 | Modified: Feb. 26, 2013
Extension, Local First host winter crops field day

The N.C. Cooperative Extension and High Country Local First will co-host a Winter Crops and Season Extension Field day in Glendale Springs Monday, Feb. 25.

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North Carolina Cooperative Extension and High Country Local First will co-host a Winter Crops and Season Extension Field Day in Glendale Springs in Ashe County Monday, Feb. 25, from 2 to 6:30 p.m.

The workshop will focus on producing specialty vegetable crops for winter harvests in the High Country region using high tunnels and other season extension strategies. The field day will be held at three neighboring farms: Blue Ridge Organics, Berry Patch Farm and Appalachian Trees.

The day will include a discussion of vegetable varieties suitable for market production during the off-season.

Patryk Battle of Living Web Farms, Richard Boylan of N.C. Cooperative Extension and host-farmers Alan Hanson, Hollis and Jay Wild and Wayne and Jeanne Berry will lead the workshop. The day’s speakers will address issues of fertility, weed management, insect management, disease management, timing and harvests. Participants will have the opportunity to scout growing crops at each of the three farms.

The day will begin at Blue Ridge Organics Farm, located at 182 Calloway Gap Road in Glendale Springs. Hanson will showcase his greenhouse production that combines vermicomposting chambers with vegetables such as mache, lettuce and chard, plus a high tunnel with a selection of both winter vegetable crops and soil-building cover crops. The second stop of the day will be at nearby Berry Patch Organic Farm, where the Berrys will discuss their winter production efforts, from growing carrots in gutters, to starting organic seedlings under lights.

The day will conclude at Appalachian Trees, where the Wilds will demonstrate how sustainable soil management and succession plantings keep their unheated high tunnels yielding vegetable harvests throughout the winter.

Battle will bring his more than 30 years of organic growing experience to the event. He works as head gardener for the Mountain Air Community Garden. He is also the host of WCQS’s “In the Garden” show.

Others know him through his Burnsville farm — Pat and Carl’s Organics — or through the sustainable farming program he teaches at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. He has also worked as head gardener at Highland Lake Inn in Flat Rock and recently helped to found Living Web Farms, where he presently teaches sustainable agriculture. More information about his work can be found at http://www.livingwebfarms.org.

The goal of the workshop is to help increasethe volume of “High Country Grown” produce in the region during all times of the year.

The field day is free and open to members of the public. Preregistration is recommended. For directions, more information or to preregister, call the Watauga County Cooperative Extension Office at (828) 264-3061.

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