Ask Tom: Farmer Education

Tom, I am interested in learning to be an organic farmer. I have had some international, organic farming experience in the past (~ 5 years ago) and would really like to make this a full time career for myself. Do you know of any programs that are available to receive...

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Ask Tom: Start Up Costs

Dear OGS – I intend to start a small farm operation in 2011. I am looking for ideas on the cost of equipment and supplies that I will need to get started as well as suggestions on how to finance them. Thanks. -- Andi in Asheville Dear Andi – The approaches to start-up...

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Ask Ruth: Raspberries

From Corinne, a FL gardener loving the new backyard gardening in NC. Hello, I bought a large raspberry bush 2 years ago. Last Spring (09) it grew canes and I had small amount of delicious fruit. This Spring it grew canes again and had about the same amount of berries...

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Ask Ruth: Wood Mulch

From Dottie in North Carolina: I have a question about mulch and how long it should "age" before using it. We had a particularly hard winter and that means trees down, and the chippers going full times. My neighbor brought me a LARGE load of a mix of oak, poplar and...

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Ask Tom: Finding Land

Hi Tom, I have been admiring and dreaming of taking courses at the Organic Growers School. What I am really looking for is a small farm, or acres of land. I have contacted realtors in different counties but no luck..... I thought maybe you can be of some help or offer...

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Ask Ruth: Slug Control

Dear Ruth, Since I moved to upstate South Carolina two years ago, something has been eating my seedlings. One day I have lettuce, carrot, basil, or broccoli seedlings just barely showing up through the soil, the next day they are all gone. Not a trace. Damping off and...

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Ask Tom: Hiring Farm Labor

Hey Tom – Another season is beginning and we are considering hiring some help for our market garden. How can we find good workers? --Overworked in Burnsville Dear Overworked – We have used a crew for about 20 years, starting with one person occasionally to a five...

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Organic Pest Control

Sometimes, it can feel like you spend as much time defending your garden as you do growing your garden. It can be exhausting and, at times, overwhelming, but there are ways to limit and even prevent pest damage that are both effective and organic. Click through the...

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Homemade Deodorant Recipe

If you've done much research into some of the questionable yet commonplace chemicals found in everyday hygiene products, there is a good chance you've heard or read somewhere about the parabens and aluminum salts in deodorant, both a which have been associated with...

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Understanding Soil pH

pH is a measure of the relative acidity or alkalinity. Soil pH is a big deal when gardening, as the relative pH affects the availability of ALL the plant nutrients. Good soil for vegetable and flower gardening has a pH between 6.5-7 (relatively neutral). Here is how...

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Container Gardening

If you’ve ever wanted to grow your own food but felt strapped for space and sunlight, container gardening could be a great option for you. In most aspects, it’s the same as gardening right in the ground, but you’ll need to think creatively, and consider a few extra...

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Watering Your Garden

Water is a constant on any gardener’s mind. If you’re ready to take your first stab at organic gardening, be thinking about how you’ll water your plants before that garden is even a twinkle in your eye. Vegetable gardens need about 1 inch of water each week.

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Growing Soil

Most people think about growing plants when starting a garden. Organic Growers School urges you to think about growing the soil. The soil in your garden will be the foundation of everything that happens, and the better you care for it, the better your garden will...

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Feeding Your Garden Organically

When it comes to adding nutrients to your garden soil, or coddling particular plants with special needs, there are many organic options. Cultural practices such as cover cropping, crop rotation, and composting will ensure balanced nutrition of your soil in the long...

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Basic Plant Nutrition

in addition to non-mineral nutrients from the sun and water, plants also need a buffet of essential mineral nutrients in order to thrive. Mineral nutrients are found in the soil, and can be added via numerous amendments and fertilizers.

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Practical Solutions in the Garden

 ***Please Note: This information was originally provided in conjunction with a presentation at the Organic Growers School Spring Conference. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us.*** “Practical Solutions in the Garden” by Jeff Ashton   The purpose of...

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Introduction to Organic Beekeeping

***Please Note: This information was originally provided in conjunction with a presentation at the Organic Growers School Spring Conference. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us.***   "Introduction to Organic BeeKeeping" by Eric Brown, Milk and Honey...

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Cover Cropping 101

A cover crop is a crop you grow for the soil, instead of for your plate. The practice of growing specific crops just for fertilizing and building the soil dates back to the Roman Empire. Cover crops add organic matter to the soil, and add nitrogen in a slow-release...

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Composting 101

Compost is a powerful tool that organic gardeners use to build soil and provide their plants with essential nutrients. Composting is the practice of speeding up natural decay processes. We all know that decomposed organic material like leaves, branches and dropped...

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Homemade Soil Block Recipe

Many commercial vegetable farmers start their seeds in soil blocks. These are exactly what they sound like: blocks of soil held together with the right amount of moisture. The purpose of soil blocks as opposed to pots, cell trays, or cell packs is to allow the roots...

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