Archive for January, 2010

At the Great Plains Vegetable Growers’ Conference

Over the weekend, I braved the poor road conditions on I-29 and headed south to balmy St. Joseph, Missouri (local temp: -2) to attend the Great Plains Vegetable Growers’ Conference.

I heard about the conference from Dr. Laurie Hodges, the vegetable extension specialist at UNL. She gave a guest lecture during my Vegetable Production class this past fall at UNL, and mentioned to me that it would probably be beneficial for me to attend.

And boy, was it beneficial.

I can’t begin to relate all that I learned over the course of the three days spent on Missouri Western State’s campus. From the high tunnel seminar to irrigation practices to organic insect control to new seed varieties available in 2010 to CSA organization to cover crop rotation… it was an incredibly valuable experience for a vegetable grower like myself.

That’s not even to mention what a wonderful opportunity the conference was for networking and meeting people involved in the fruit and vegetable business in the Great Plains. I made a number of new friends in the Nebraska Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, made plans to visit a couple of Nebraska vegetable farms, and just generally made a huge leap forward in my knowledge and connection with the vegetable production industry in Nebraska.

It was also very interesting to listen to the presentations by growers from Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa and South Dakota — and the very interesting seminar about high tunnels, specifically the organic high tunnels of Zaid Kurdieh at Norwich Meadows Farm in New York.

I’ve definitely become convinced that a high tunnel will greatly benefit my production, and will likely be building a small one this spring. There’s some great info on high tunnels here, at a website run by Dr. Ted Carey at Kansas State.

I’m already certain that I’ll be attending next year’s conference, and I’ll recommend the same to the growers I see in the market this summer.

As a sidenote, I’m also pretty excited about the new hoes I bought from ProHoe. Anything that makes weeding easier is my new best friend…

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