vegetables

2024 CT Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers’ Conference

UConn Extension Vegetable & Small Fruit Growers’ Conference

 January 9, 2024

UConn Student Union, Rooms 330 & 304

For full agenda and more information visit: s.uconn.edu/ctvfcprogram
Early Registration $40.00, ends Wednesday December 20, 2023 at noon

$60.00 after December 20, 2023

Matriculated Students: $30.00 with valid school ID

Online registration will be open until January 3, 2024 at noon

Trade Show held throughout the conference, Pesticide recertification credits: 4 CEU to be confirmed. 

Lunch & Parking is included in conference registration. Prior to the day of the conference, you will be sent an event parking link to register for validated parking

You must be registered prior to January 3, 2024 in order to receive free parking

Register online at: s.uconn.edu/ctvfcregistration

To pay by check visit: s.uconn.edu/ctvfconference or email tolland@uconn.edu

Trade Show Registration: $180.00 (includes one person’s registration)

TRADE SHOW REGISTRATION: s.uconn.edu/ctvfctradeshow

Trade show set up is from 7:00-7:45 am, breaks for trade show are from 8:00-8:55 am,

10:00-10:45am and 12:00-1:00pm, clean up is after 2:00 pm.

Trade Show Registration closes December 22, 2023 at 11:59 PM

Conference Sponsor Information 

Sponsor Registration: s.uconn.edu/ctvfcsponsor

Silver Sponsor: $100.00 Includes advertisement

Gold Sponsor: $250.00 Includes 1 regular registration & larger advertisement

Platinum Sponsor: $500.00 Includes 1 trade show registration, 1 regular registration (2 people total) & larger advertisement

Advertisement includes: business logo highlighted in the conference program and business information advertised periodically throughout the conference and at the tradeshow. Sponsor Registration closes December 22, 2023 at 11:59 PM

Any business, farm, organization or individual can be a conference sponsor. You do not need to attend the conference to be a sponsor.

If you have any questions please email tolland@uconn.edu or call 860-875-3331

 

Register Today For “Bringing the Farm to the School” Training

PLOYT producer training workshop flyer

An organized partnership between Put Local on Your Tray, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, UConn Extension, and Connecticut Farm To School Collaborative is excited to offer “Bringing the Farm to the School” a producer training for CT Farmers to navigate the opportunities and challenges of selling into public K-12 schools!

Learn more HERE!

Did you know that Districts across the state are poised to receive federal dollars that can only be spent specifically on fresh and minimally processed local product! This creates an amazing opportunity for farmers across the state to get started in farm to school and scale up to meet this opportunity.

This free, day-long workshop will bring together farmers and public-school food service directors to learn, connect and share best practices, success stories and frustrations.

Register HERE

Who is this for?

  • Fruit, vegetable, meat and added value dairy producers
  • Farm businesses of all sizes and growing practices
  • Growers looking to expand their market
  • producers who think the farm to school market is not for them because there are too many barriers.

The barriers are not as high as you may think! Here is the registration link again!

For service providers and supports interested in participating please email shannon.raider@uconn.edu.

Newest Crop Insurance Program

Small-scale, diversified farmers – have you heard the news? There’s a new insurance program available from USDA called Micro Farm insurance, available specifically for farmers making up to $350,000 annually. If you’ve thought federal crop insurance didn’t apply to you before, well, things are starting to change!
CT will have an in-person workshop at the Tolland Ag. Center, Vernon, CT –  Dec 1, 2022 (10am – 5pm, morning and afternoon sessions) It’s Free and Lunch is included!

This workshop is a sequence of five parts, divided into Session One and Session Two.  Session One (Parts A and B) covers Micro Farm eligibility requirements and the application process. In Session Two (Parts C, D, and E), we’ll look at ways to refine your financial recordkeeping. We invite you to attend one or both sessions depending on your interests and needs.

Session 1: Micro Farm Insurance – What is This and Who is Eligible?(Part A) Leave knowing whether Micro Farm insurance is applicable to your operation and what other risk management options are available if you are currently ineligible.

Session 1: Micro Farm Insurance – Applying for Insurance and What You Need to Know(Part B) Leave knowing how to apply for and benefit from Micro Farm insurance, and what financial records you will need. Understand how the insurance premium and coverage works, and how to work with an insurance agent and place a claim.

Session 2: Refining Your RecordsRefine your financial recordkeeping to better manage your farm business and prepare you for the Micro Farm insurance program.    (Part C) Understanding Your Farm’s Financial Records    (Part D) Preparing a Schedule F Tax Form    (Part E) Steps for Improving Your Financial Recordkeeping

Can’t attend but still could use the help? Check out these self-guided tools:

Check out The Carrot Project’s resources on USDA Micro Farm insurance and register for workshops here:  https://thecarrotproject.salsalabs.org/microfarmworkshop20222023

If you have any questions or would like individualized support, reach out to Amanda Chang, Outreach Coordinator at The Carrot Project, at achang@thecarrotproject.org or 617-674-2371 x 10.
This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2021-70027-34693.

FSMA Produce Safety Course

FSMA Produce Safety Rule/Produce Safety Alliance Approved Grower Training Course (In person)

November 30, December 1; December 2, Snow Date
8:30 am through 3:30 pm
Middlesex County Extension Center
1066 Saybrook Rd
Haddam, CT

Registration Deadline Friday, 11/18
Space limited to 30 participants.

REGISTRATION: Course fee is $50. The preferred method of registration/payment is through the CAHNR Conferences site, paying with a credit card. Please include both a work and cell/home phone number and regularly used email address in case of emergency or cancellation.

ONLINE REGISTRATION
https://s.uconn.edu/fsmaproducesafetycourse

Master Gardener Plant Sale

flower in pot on porch

Date: Saturday, May 8, 2021

Time: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Place: Windham County Extension Center 139 Wolf Den Road Brooklyn, CT 06237

 

Perennials

Annuals

Tomatoes

Vegetables

Herbs

Houseplants

Soil Testing Kits for sale

 

*Free Parking                                                *Free Admission                          *No Pets Allowed-Except Service Animals

Rain or Shine (Outdoors)

*All proceeds support UConn, Master Gardener Program

TEL: 860-774-9600                     Windham@uconn.edu

Master Gardener logo

Apply to Become a UConn Extension Master Gardener – 2021 Class Will Be Online

Master Gardener logoGarden harvests are underway, and it’s a great time to plan ahead for next year. Apply now for the 2021 UConn Extension Master Gardener Program. Classes will be held in Bethel, Brooklyn, Farmington, Haddam and Stamford. The deadline for applications is Friday, October 16, 2020.

UConn Extension Master Gardeners have an interest in plants, gardening, people and the environment.  Specifically, they are willing to share their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm with their communities, providing research-based information to homeowners, students, gardening communities and others. They receive horticultural training from UConn, and then share that knowledge with the public through community volunteering and educational outreach efforts. UConn Master Gardeners help with community and museum gardens, school gardens, backyard projects, houseplant questions and more.

“The Master Gardener Program opened my eyes to the wonderful world of horticulture, gardening, and the fragile ecosystem we share with animals and insects,” says Pat Sabosik of Hamden, who completed the program in 2017.

The 2021 class, that runs January through April, will be entirely online. Each topic consists of online educational material to be reviewed before the class date and a weekly interactive online session providing more depth and application of information to real-life situations. The classroom portion runs from 9 AM – 1 PM. There are five class cohorts available; each affiliated with one or more Master Gardener offices. This year’s Haddam class will be held on Saturdays.

“The combination of in-depth classroom learning with subject matter experts, extensive reading materials, and hands-on projects and outreach experiences is a good balance of learning experiences”, says Anne Farnum who also took the class in 2017.

Classes begin the week of January 9, 2021. Subject matter includes basic botany, plant pathology, soils, entomology and other aspects of gardening such as plant categories, native plants, and pest management. After the classroom portion, students complete 60 hours of outreach experience during the summer, along with a plant identification project.

The program fee is $450.00, and includes all needed course materials. Partial scholarships may be available, based on demonstrated financial need.

For more information, visit the UConn Extension Master Gardener website at www.mastergardener.uconn.edu , where both the on-line and paper application are located.

Getting Started with Vegetable Gardening

It’s exciting for those of us who are already passionate about gardening to see the recent interest in vegetable gardens. Seed companies have been doing a great business. Every winter I love to browse seed catalogs and gardening websites and dream about the perfect garden. There is a special joy in eating something you grew yourself, it is convenient to have fresh food at hand, and you can even save money.

While there are wonderful benefits of growing your own food, it can also be challenging. How can you be successful from the beginning? Where can you turn for reliable science-based information? UConn Extension has numerous resources available online and you can reach out to any of our nine Master Gardener offices around the state with questions.

Before you spend money on seeds, plants or fancy tools, ask yourself if you can provide the basics of adequate sun, soil, and water. Without at least 6-8 hours of sun, few vegetables can thrive. Similarly, if your soil pH is not in the correct range, plants struggle to get nutrients from the soil. Finally, you should have a way to easily water your new vegetable garden if it does not get at least an inch of rain per week.

As long as you can provide enough sun, a yard isn’t necessary. Container gardening is an easy way to get started without a big commitment. Make sure the container is deep enough for the roots to grow and look for dwarf varieties that will be happy with less room to grow. See the container gardening section for more information.

Consider creating a small raised bed in a sunny area. A few tomato plants, 2 or 3 cucumber plants, lettuce, radishes, and basil fit in a 4 x 8-foot raised bed. Purchased garden soil eliminates the need to dig.  Remember to allow space between plants so air can circulate and reduce the chance of disease. If deer, rabbits, and other animals are a problem, you can use netting and stakes to create a simple fence around the bed.

As a beginning gardener, start small so that you aren’t overwhelmed by weeds, insects, other potential problems, or your aching muscles. Grow what you like to eat. I grew Swiss chard for several years because the foliage is colorful, but I don’t actually like to eat it! Consider choosing plants with fewer pest or disease problems. Cool season vegetables like radishes and lettuce grow quickly from seeds planted in the garden and they have few pests. Soil should be at least 40 degrees and not too wet. Beans can also be direct sown in the garden, but watch out for Japanese, Cucumber, and Mexican Bean beetles. Luckily, hand picking insect pests is manageable in a small garden. Home grown tomatoes are delicious, but they are susceptible to disease and take a long time to mature. Seeds must be started indoors 6 weeks before the last frost date (average of mid-May in CT) or you can buy plants to put in the ground in early June. Warm season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant need warm soil (at least 60 degrees) to thrive so don’t start too early.  Whether you grow from seed or plants, keep track of when you plant and how it grows.  This can be as easy as taking pictures with your phone.

Welcome to the world of gardening!

Article by Michelle Winkler, Litchfield County Extension Master Gardener Coordinator

Join us for a Farmer Focus Group Tomorrow

vegetables in a wheelbarrow in a greenhouse
Photo: USDA
Invite to Farmer Focus Group

Do you struggle with getting all the work done on your farm?  Do you have challenges attracting and retaining employees?  Are you interested in working with other farmers to design solutions to labor challenges?  If so, consider attending the farmer focus group, Exploring Novel Approaches to Farm Labor, at the CT NOFA Winter Conference in Middletown on March 7th from 12:30—1:45.  [A vegetarian box lunch will be provided]  We will discuss three potential farm labor models and the opportunities, challenges, and interests of each one.  Be prepared to provide your input and feedback! Register now by clicking here We are seeking small to mid-scale diversified fruit and vegetable farmers in Connecticut (and New England + New York) who practice sustainable growing methods and market products directly to consumers or engage in wholesale/institutional markets.  We are particularly interested in producers who hire full-time, part-time seasonal workers, and/or family members.  An electronic gift card of $50 will be provided. 

FYI – A second opportunity to participate will be in the evening of March 30th at CT Farm Bureau Association, time tbd.

This project is funded by a Northeast SARE Novel Approaches grant, LNE19-386R. 

Ask UConn Extension: Biodegradable Plastic Mulch

green head of lettuce growing on white biodegradable plastic mulch at Gresczyk Farms in New Hartford, Connecticut
Photo: Stacey Stearns

Farmers: Are you considering biodegradable plastic mulch (BDM) for your crops? Shuresh Ghimire, UConn Extension educator for vegetable crops, visits Bruce Gresczyk Jr. of Gresczyk Farms in New Hartford, Connecticut to discuss biodegradable plastic mulch (BDM), and the advantages and disadvantages of BDM for vegetable farmers: youtu.be/kyvB1QxHAtE

#AskUConnExtension

10 Tips for the October Gardener

  1. Dig and store tender bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers in a cool, dark, place.
  2. Remove plant debris from the flowerbeds. Bag any diseased plant parts and put it in the trash or take it to a landfill but do not compost.
  3. Take a scenic drive to observe the changing fall foliage. The CT DEEP has fall foliage driving routes for Connecticut.
  4. Rosemary is not hardy in most areas of Connecticut. Bring plants in before temperatures drop too low but check plants thoroughly for insects such as mealybugs. Rinse the foliage, remove the top layer of the soil surface, and wipe down containers.
  5. Squash and pumpkins should be harvested when they have bright color and a thick, hard skin. These vegetables will be
    butternut squash stacked on a table at a farm stand in Connecticut
    Butternut squash. Photo: Stacey Stearns

    abundant in farmer’s markets and will make a colorful and healthy addition to fall dinners.

  6. As tomatoes end their production cut down plants and pick up any debris and put in the trash or take to a landfill. Many diseases will over-winter on old infected leaves and stems, so these are best removed from the property.
  7. Remove, bag and trash any Spongy moth, Bagworm, or Eastern tent caterpillar egg masses or spray them with a commercial horticultural oil to smother them.
  8. Cold-hardy fruit trees including Honeycrisp and Cortland apples, Reliance peach, Superior plum, most pawpaws and American persimmon can still be planted into October. Continue to water until the ground freezes hard.
  9. Outwit hungry squirrels and chipmunks by planting bulbs in established groundcovers.
  10. Drain garden hoses and store in a shed, garage, or basement for the winter. Turn off all outside faucets at the inside shut-off valve, turn on the outside faucet to drain any water left in them, and then shut them off.

For more October gardening tips, visit the Home and Garden Education Center resources, or one of our nine Extension Master Gardener offices statewide.

Article: UConn Home and Garden Education Center