Sunday, April 19, 2009

North Slope Farm - SAITA Soil Structure Workshop

We had a great turnout of interns from Blooming Glen and Sankanac Farms and one interested future farmer for our first SAITA workshop at North Slope in Lambertville, NJ. The farmer and owner, Mike Rassweiler, was well prepared with handouts and a soil testing exercise on his 50 Acre farm in central NJ. Check his website for great information on fertilizing and his Flickr pages for his examples of profits and loss from his farm over the years. His greenhouses were full of baby greens, bright young basil and had some of the tiniest cell flats I've ever seen. 

He's been farming this property since 1994 and lives there with his wife Colleen and baby Casey. They offer housing and a 3 year training program to interns and currently have about four people helping out. 
A good lab to get your samples analyzed is A & L Eastern Labs in Richmond, VA. I had my own Atlanta garden soil sampled there about 15 years ago.

Not so great video from my little Canon, but worth viewing for Mike's notes on soil.

soil sampling-

Mike is aiming for no till on all the beds and uses 'living' shoulders between rows. He cover crops at the end of the season, and uses compost annually on most beds. Since one of his specialties is salad or field mix, he prefers to avoid cross contamination by not using any animal manure. He buys mushroom soil, and has used municipal deliveries of leaf waste in the past, from which he was getting a tipping fee. He does buy some organic fertilizer from Fertrell.

His main 3 acres is bounded by an electric fence for deer, a challenge is erosion and drainage; loss has occurred during heavy rains.


mixing soil-

water test-

Stay tuned for next Saturday, April 25th SAITA workshop notes on 'CSA costs - Recovery and Budgeting' at Calvert Farm in Rising Sun, MD. 

Hope to see you there! Schedule here.

SAITA Coordinator

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