Monday, May 12, 2008

A Trip to Highmoor Farm - May 3rd, 2008

by Adam Lemieux, Product Manager

I was invited by Dr. Mark Hutton to speak at the University of Maine Co-op Extension's workshop for Commercial Vegetable & Berry Farming: Getting Started in Maine being held on Saturday, May 3rd. I went down on the Monday before and met with Dr. Mark Hutton, Mark Hutchinson, and Dr. David Handley to discuss content and pick out the tools they would like to have shown at the seminar. They asked me to present tools that help in soil preparation. seeding, weeding and harvesting - in that order. They sold out with an attendance of 50 people, that were split up into two groups. Here's the brochure.

What a nice place.

I came down on Friday and set up in the red hoophouse on the right.

Inside, half the house had overgrown overwintering crops and a lot of weeds.

Here's the final set up on Saturday, just before the talk. The Highmoor crew had cleared out quite a bit of the overgrown stuff.

Christina Howard, who recently came to Johnny's from Highmoor, was signed up as an attendee. She very graciously agreed to help me with my presentation.

A Soil Health and Compost lecture taking place in the neighbooring hoophouse.

Highmoor's mulch and row cover display. This tractor accessory can install irrigation tube while it lays mulch. Dr. Hutton also demonstrated how to apply mulch and row cover by hand.

Some very nice Italian-made tiller equipment used on the farm. They were demonstrating the different attachments they had for these machines and how versatile they were.

This tiller had a vertical auger-like attachment.

Dr. Hutton showed the tilled soil between the two types of tillers and demonstrated how different equipment like this vertical tiller didn't completely churn up and damage the living soil, because it leaves larger pieces of undamaged substrate.

From left to right, Highmoor farm manager Greg, Dr. Mark Hutton, and U-Maine Extension Educator, Mark Hutchinson. Greg had just finished laying a section of mulch, and that gave Chris & me an idea...

Chris went to get the Hatfield Transplanter and some seedlings that I had brought for demo. The group jumped right in and tried it out.

I think they really liked this product.

Back in the other hoophouse, I started the talk with soil preparation. I put down some Vermont Compost Plus and worked it into the bed with the Tilther.

Volunteers were again easy to come by with this group.

Then on to aerating the soil with 520 Broadfork.

While I was on broadforks, I harvested some baby carrots with a 920. I think that was received pretty well.

The Bed Preparation Rake was used a lot.

After soil preparation, on to seeding. Showing how the Seed Stick operates.

The Easy Plant Jab-Type Planter. Chris had a lot of experience with this unit as it is used extensively at Highmoor. In fact, this was one of theirs.

The Glaser Seeder in operation. We were actually planting seeds too. Thanks to Steve Bellavia for the extra seeds.

Running the Earthway Seeder through its paces.

The European Push Seeder.

The Sembdner Four-row Pinpoint Seeder that our Six-row Seeder was mostly modeled after. This is one that Mark had brought.

It pulls backward like the Glaser and doesn't turn easily in fluffy soil like this.

Showing how the Six-row Seeder works and all of its components.

The Six-row in action.

On to weeding...Chris did a great job reading from my less than perfect script. I'm really glad she was there. Thanks, Chris!

Wire Weeder demonstration.

Tearin' it up with a Stirrup Hoe.

The Stirrup Hoe's older sibling...the Wheel Hoe.

Three-tine Cultivator attachment on the Wheel Hoe.

Seeder Conversion Kit installed on another Wheel Hoe.

And finally, on to harvesting...

The group seemed impressed with the Greens Harvester.

It's hard not to be. It really works well.

And that's it. Thanks to Dr. Mark Hutton and the staff at the Highmoor Farm. Special thanks to Christina Howard for all her help in the presentation and to Tori Lee Jackson, a U-Maine Extension Educator, for taking many of these pictures while we presented.

No comments: