Upcoming workshops

Winter is winding down here in the Northeast, soils are beginning to thaw, and it is time to start seeds. But before the season gets fully underway, Dan will be hopscotching across the country presenting our core workshop series: "Principles and Practices of Biological Management". This two-day workshop builds upon your knowledge and experience to find ways to increase the health of your soil and crops for greater yields, healthier produce and better marketability. Over 2,000 growers have attended the course in the past six years, and our attendance continues to grow thanks to word-of-mouth promotion of the course by previous attendees.
 
Montpelier, VT   Mar 18 (Day 2)
Bedford Hills, NY   Mar 19 (Day 2)
La Villita, NM Mar 22-23
Mills River, NC   Apr 8-9
Athens, OH   Apr 22-23
Newburyport, MA   Apr 29-30
Hillsborough, NJ   May 6
 
Free Introductory Talks
Whallonsburg, NY  Mar 14
Newbury, MA  Mar 16
 

Agronomy questions

I frequently get asked about what kind of potting soil to use for starting seeds, but I don’t have a simple answer for people.  What I generally recommend is that you take the seed starting potting soil you’re used to, and use that as the base and simply add to it.  Since potting soils all act a bit different, it’s best not to change everything all at once.  Any good quality seed starting mix is likely workable… but check to see whether fertilizers are added.  If so, you’ll want to keep that in mind when amending your soil (and I would avoid potting soils with significant amounts of nitrogen, or synthetic phosphates added).

I generally use an organic seed starting mix, from Johnny’s, Fedco, or local store, and then add as many different types of amendments as possible. I generally add 20% (by volume) of a blend of amendments and minerals to my potting soil mix. The blend consists of roughly:
2x compost,
2x worm castings,
2x humates,
2x basalt rock dust,
1x biochar,
1x greensand,
1x carbonatite,
1x granite meal,
1x Desert Dynamin,
0.5x Azomite,
0.25x calcium silicate,
0.25x diatomaceous earth,
0.25x Terrabiotics 'Soil Infusion',
and 0.25x Agri-dynamics 'Zygote'

None of these things are required, and I often substitute when I don't have them on hand.  I would encourage experimentation, and as long as you keep in mind the idea of diversity, mineral balance, and moderation, you should get good results.
 
Agronomy Conference Call
with David Forster,
BFA soil & farm consultant
Mon, March 13, 3pm EST

Call-in details

This free 1-hour call is your chance to get your questions answered by our staff agronomist. And tell your friends... everyone's invited!  (BFA membership is not required).

If you have specific questions or topics you'd like to hear about, please post ahead of time in the forum to be sure we get to your questions, and to make our limited time more effective and efficient.

Sign up here for our agronomy newsletter, and we'll let you know before each consulting call, and periodically send agronomy tips to your inbox.

 

BFA Chapter Spotlight: Hartford, CT

Kris McCue and Mark Cegielski, co-leaders of the Hartford, CT Chapter, sit down for an interview to discuss the growth and success of the Chapter, touching on a variety of topics ranging from how they got involved in the Chapter, to the wildly successful demonstration garden they have established, to the many benefits members and community are reaping from the shared experience.

Starting at the beginning, what attracted you to better quality food?
Kris McCue:  When I was a child I had all the usual childhood sicknesses, I broke my arm 3 times, but I never thought of myself as a sickly person. Then when I was 13, I got my first summer job, working at the George Hall Organic Farm in my town. I had only been exposed to a limited number of vegetables at home, I had never actually eaten much in the way of raw veggies before other than iceberg lettuce salads - my mother always kept a small garden but we were not allowed to eat anything raw out of it - it all had to be boiled and canned and put up for the winter, so I did not know some of the vegetables that I was selling at the farm.

I ate so many organic vegetables that summer and noticed how much better I felt and looked. I saw my grandparents live into their 90s, in really good health, but I saw my mother’s health take a different trajectory, and I decided I wanted to age like my grandparents. As an adult, I had spent a decade going with my mother to too many doctor appointments, including a couple of naturopaths. Some of the advice she got from two different naturopaths was good but, she decided to go with conventional medicine and one prescription after another. Conventional doctors did not address diet and nutrition at all. She aged fast and died 20 years younger than her parents. I’m not having it. I knew early on that good food was the medicine we needed. The trick was going to be finding food that had complete nutrition as nature intended.  Read more...
 

Upcoming chapter meetings and events

Learn more at www.bionutrient.org/chapters/local-chapters, or click on the BFA chapter links below.   Mar 12  Basic Botany/Family relationships and crop rotation
Mar 21  Backyard Grower Series - This month's topic TBA
Apr 9  Soil analysis and re-mineralization Mar 14  Potluck followed by chapter meeting (Athens/The Plains, OH) Mar 19  Chapter Meeting: Topics include the effects of sound on life and farm; housekeeping points; and open garden & farm discussion (Mechanicsville, VA) Mar 20  Chapter Meeting: Bill Paradis discusses "High-Nutrient Produce for a Low-Income Budget", addressing food insecurity and raising quality for all (New Britain, CT)
Apr 1  Workshop & Orchard Tour with Michael Phillips, orchardist (Meriden, CT)
 

Nutritionally-Dense Orcharding Workshop

The Hartford-Area BFA Chapter is proud to be partnering with CT NOFA to bring you a one-day workshop:
Nutritionally-Dense Orcharding
with Master Orchardist
Michael Phillips
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Morning workshop: Rockfall, CT
Afternoon orchard tour: Meriden, CT

Come learn the nutritional side of holistic orcharding through the lens of healthy plant metabolism. Join us for this introduction to a whole-system-based approach for producing nutritionally-dense fruits and berries by this nationally recognized guru of holistic orchard management.
 

2017 Soil & Nutrition Conference: Call for ideas!

(Dates to follow soon, but keep your schedule open for late November!)

We would love to hear from you!  Who would you like to see present at this year's conference?  What are your recommendations for the program?  What topics you would like to see covered?  How can we improve on last year's event?
Please email us at conference@bionutrient.org.

  We look forward to hearing from you!
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