Accokeek Foundation’s Ecosystem FarmWinter Farm Lecture Series – the Basics
What do farmers usually do in the winter?It seems intuitive to snuggle up and tackle the   boxes of receipts from the busy...
Winter Farming – Timing• Plant growth slows when daylight drops to below 10  hours, mid-November to late January.• Plantin...
Winter Farming – Crop SelectionThere are 5 main families of plants that do best  in cool weather:• Brassicaceae• Chenopodi...
BrassicasBrassicas
The Beet Family
The Umbellifers
The Daisy Family
Alliums
Winter Farming – Crop Selection• Cold-Hardy Varieties for Field Growing  For Seed Sources, check Southern  Exposure, Fedco...
Winter Farming – Soil and Nutrients• Well-drained soil is very important. This is  determined by your natural soil structu...
Winter Farming –          Season Extension Tools•   High Tunnels•   Low Tunnels / Caterpillar Tunnels•   Row Cover•   Good...
Winter Farming - Harvesting• Crops are slow to grow back – allow time for  regrowth and/or overplant• Weather – need to ma...
Winter Farming –          Value-Added Products• Use drying for herbs and peppers, present in jars  or garlands.• Rent a co...
Winter Farming – Storage CropsWith extra planning with winter in mind, and proper storage  facilities, these crops store w...
Winter Farming – Record-keeping• Planting Record: when, where, how  much, varieties, days to maturity• Field Log: inputs, ...
Winter Farming – Marketing• Use everything you’ve got!• Determine the best value for the space used  (real estate)• Combin...
Winter Farming – Possible MarketsPossible Market           Pros                        ConsCSA                       Stead...
Winter Farming - Recap•   Timing•   Crop Families and Varieties•   Season Extension Tools•   Creativity with Products•   F...
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Winter Lecture Series 2013: The Basics

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This slideshow is designed as an overview of winter farming techniques. It includes the basics of timing, crop selection, season extension techniques, diversity in marketing, and some introduction to winter farm marketing.

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Winter Lecture Series 2013: The Basics

  1. 1. Accokeek Foundation’s Ecosystem FarmWinter Farm Lecture Series – the Basics
  2. 2. What do farmers usually do in the winter?It seems intuitive to snuggle up and tackle the boxes of receipts from the busy growing season.Every year, as the summer grows hotter and the winter grows warmer, it seems that the cold season affords one an opportunity.At the Ecosystem Farm, we are trying a 3-season model with the spring off. This is because of poor soil and drainage that makes spring farming difficult.
  3. 3. Winter Farming – Timing• Plant growth slows when daylight drops to below 10 hours, mid-November to late January.• Planting must occur with enough time that plants will be healthy enough around the shorter winter days. In Maryland this is late September, although microclimates may differ.• Succession plantings will increase productivity, and prevent disease and bolting. For example, early September plantings may bolt or rot, although they will be big enough. Depending on fall weather, an early October planting may not be big enough by mid-winter.
  4. 4. Winter Farming – Crop SelectionThere are 5 main families of plants that do best in cool weather:• Brassicaceae• Chenopodiaceae• Apiaceae• Alliaceae• Asteraceae• Miscellaneous (mache – Valerianaceae)
  5. 5. BrassicasBrassicas
  6. 6. The Beet Family
  7. 7. The Umbellifers
  8. 8. The Daisy Family
  9. 9. Alliums
  10. 10. Winter Farming – Crop Selection• Cold-Hardy Varieties for Field Growing For Seed Sources, check Southern Exposure, Fedco, High Mowing, Johnny’s• Use Cold Tolerant Families in combination with season extension techniques (fennel under row cover, scallions in high tunnel)• Volunteer Crops• Wild Harvesting
  11. 11. Winter Farming – Soil and Nutrients• Well-drained soil is very important. This is determined by your natural soil structure and your tilth.• Most winter crops need a healthy amount of nitrogen (brassicas) and a good amount of organic matter.• Trace minerals and micronutrients are important for healthy plants and can help plants resists pests and diseases.• A thorough soil test is important to understand your soil structure and composition.
  12. 12. Winter Farming – Season Extension Tools• High Tunnels• Low Tunnels / Caterpillar Tunnels• Row Cover• Good Breeding• Good Storage Abilities• Creativity – Value!
  13. 13. Winter Farming - Harvesting• Crops are slow to grow back – allow time for regrowth and/or overplant• Weather – need to make sure to harvest during warmer parts of day, especially during frosts and ice• Post-harvest handling – wash, drain well, and store in moderate temperatures
  14. 14. Winter Farming – Value-Added Products• Use drying for herbs and peppers, present in jars or garlands.• Rent a commercial kitchen or build one to preserve fresh food.• Make herbal products like salves or lotions.• Plant extra and then braid garlic.• Dry flowers and make wreaths or wall arrangements.
  15. 15. Winter Farming – Storage CropsWith extra planning with winter in mind, and proper storage facilities, these crops store well for winter markets:- Sweet potatoes- Potatoes- Winter squash- Pumpkins- Beets, topped- Onions- Garlic- Carrots- Parsnips- Celeriac
  16. 16. Winter Farming – Record-keeping• Planting Record: when, where, how much, varieties, days to maturity• Field Log: inputs, when, where, how much, tools used• Harvest Record: when, where, how much, quality, market• Market Record: when, where, how much brought, how much sold, dollar amount (can be used for CSA as well)• For determining “real estate”: estimate seed cost, labor, inputs, value of space, product value
  17. 17. Winter Farming – Marketing• Use everything you’ve got!• Determine the best value for the space used (real estate)• Combine techniques: field, high tunnel, storage, value-added, wild-crafting• Find the market that works for you, before beginning to grow…
  18. 18. Winter Farming – Possible MarketsPossible Market Pros ConsCSA Steady income, Need to provide every guaranteed market, can week, no room for error provide CSA with unusual produceFarmers’ Market / Direct Can bring what’s available May be difficult to sellRetail depending on weather unusual produce, weather etc., popular items sell affects market, very well, can get top competition, occasional dollar for produce slow days create backlog, can be a grindWholesale Guaranteed large amount May not make a high of produce sold, develop margin for produce, solid relationships difficulty collecting payment at times, occasional slow times
  19. 19. Winter Farming - Recap• Timing• Crop Families and Varieties• Season Extension Tools• Creativity with Products• Finding a Market that WorksResources: Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman; Extending the Season: Six Strategies for Improving Cash Flow Year-Round on the Market Farm from Growing for Market
  20. 20. Thank you!Questions?

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