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Summer Academy: Introduction to Sustainable Vegetable Farming
Summer 2014 PSS 095 (3 credits) Class Meeting:
, MTWR, 9-3
 Mimi Arnstein Email (best): mimi@wellspringcsa.com  Phone: 802 279-9423
Class site
 UVM Horticulture Research Center 65 Green Mountain Drive, South Burlington, VT 05405
Course Texts
 Course Reader will be provided at the beginning of the course.
Course Description
In this hands-on, field-based course, students will explore the basic concepts and practices of sustainable farming. Topics include vegetable crop families, soil management, composting, organic weed, pest and disease control, propagation and planting and marketing techniques. The class format will consist of a combination of lectures and hands-on fieldwork. Concepts and skills taught will
immediately be applied through participation in Catamount Educational Farm’s five acre vegetable
operation that supplies produce to the community through a CSA, a farm stand and multiple wholesale accounts.
Course Goals & Objectives
 Students will gain a holistic view of sustainable vegetable farm planning in theory and practice. Students will learn and display skills in crop planning, greenhouse and field production, soil properties identification and treatments, and farm business skills. At the close of the course, students will design a final project on a chosen crop that addresses both sustainable production and business practices.
Curriculum Outline
uly 15
 Sustainable Food Production Overview
Define sustainable food production and food system
Learn to read and implement a field map
Determine how to lay-out a field
Field Map Crop Plan
Farm Orientation
Understand role of crop rotations in farming system
Visit to UVM Horticulture Research Center (HRC) Farm
Tuesday, July 1
 Crop Families Overview Bed Prep Soil Properties
Understand importance of crop families
Proper and safe use of tools
Secondary cultivation; Prepare a seed bed
Pros and Cons of mechanical tools
Wednesday, July
 Greenhouse Management Propagation
Greenhouse sowing
Pricking out
Environmental factors in greenhouse including pests & disease concerns
Understand greenhouse materials
Assess seedlings for maturity
Assess tray moisture & watering
In-ground production
Thursday, July
 Direct Sowing Transplanting
Determining whether to direct sow or transplant
How to transplant from cell tray and open flat
How to sow small-seeded and large-seeded crops
Assess optimal soil moisture for transplanting
Assess optimal seedling maturity for transplanting
Proper spacing and thinning of sown/transplanted crops
How to irrigate recently transplanted/sown beds
Monday, July
 Soil Fertility Compost
Identify the nature and properties of soil including chemical, physical & biological
Identify roles of organic matter in soil
Learn the proper techniques/recipes in building aerobic compost
Soil testing
 & amendment calculations
Cover Crops & green manures
, July 23
 Weeds Plant Disease
Learn to identify annual and perennial weeds common to farming systems
Understand weed life cycles to facilitate management
Learn efficient techniques for hand weeding & reducing weeds
Learn proper use of hoes for cultivation
Learn to identify common plant diseases, life cycle and prevention methods
Wednesday, July
 Pests Harvest & Post Harvest Handling
Identify and scout for pests
Learn pest lifecycles and how they pertain to growing
Gain familiarity with different pest management
Understand optimum conditions for harvest
Learn proper techniques for picking/bunching vegetables
Learn proper techniques for washing/packing
Understanding best methods for rapid cooling of produce
Control quality and establish standards for marketable produce
Understand best way to pack and transport vegetables to market
 Thursday, July
 Direct and Wholesale Markets Business Planning and Assessing Profitability Final Project Presentations
Understand direct and wholesale marketing outlets and the pros and cons of each
Profitability analysis, record keeping, accounting and pricing
Field Practicals 30% Quizzes 30% Professionalism 10% Project 30%
Field Practicals, 30%:
Applied, hands-on activities will be performed in fields to develop skills introduced in lessons
Quizzes, 30%:
Short quizzes will be presented to review the material covered
Professionalism, 10%:
Students are expected to attend all classes, participate in activities, and act in a professional manner.
Final Project, 30%:
Each student will complete a Final Project on a chosen vegetable. The project will include management techniques (including weed, pest & disease management), harvest and post- harvest handling techniques and a marketing plan. Details will be given out in the first few days of the course.
General Policies
Everyone must attend all classes on time 2.
All assignments and presentations must be completed on time. Late assignments and presentations will not be accepted.

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