rototilling 3
I originally wrote this article for and it was published in The Canadian Organic Growers Magazine’s Spring 2016 issue. TCOG (for short) magazine is a great magazine that you can either subscribe to online or as a print/paper copy. Check it out! This article was written as a follow-up to the first article I wrote on this issue originally published in the ACORN newsletter (and later published in The BC Organic Grower). After years of using biodegradable biobased mulch films (or biofilms for brevity), in early 2015 certified organic farmers in Canada were told that biofilms would no longer be […]

Biodegradable Plastic Mulches No Longer Allowed in Canadian ...

Landscape fabric 8
I wrote this article for ACORN’s summer 2015 newsletter and am now republishing it here. At the end of March of this year (2015), we found a memo in our inbox from Ecocert (the organic certifying body that we are certified with). In this memo, we were told that we would no longer be able to use the biodegradable plastic mulch (made with non-GMO corn starch) that we had been using unless we removed it after use. We were surprised and concerned. It was definitely a little last-minute! We still had leftover rolls of it at the farm from last […]

The Case of the Unapproved Biodegradable Plastic Mulch

On our small farm, projects often come about after some internet research and using odd pieces of “junk” we’ve got hanging around. One of this winter’s projects was a germination chamber. Some of our seeds require light to germinate but most vegetable seeds don’t. They do need consistent moisture though. So, in an effort to reduce the space that seedling trays take up before the baby plants emerge (at which point they do require light) and in order to reduce the watering these trays need so they don’t dry out, many growers use a germination (or sweat) chamber. Since we […]

DIY Germination Chamber

This post was inspired by seeing this post from Allsun Farm (in Australia)  and the Farm Start posts from other farmers we really respect and admire. I wanted to just share those links but then thought, what the heck, why don’t we just join in! 1)      Vermont Cart. We use this ALL THE TIME! We love the one we bought at Lee Valley so much. This year, we bought an extra one from Vesey’s (it’s bright red) and, while it’s still useful, it is just slightly less wide, which doesn’t allow us to have our harvest bins side by side […]

Our 5 Favourite Market Gardening Tools

We really love growing salad greens so, while envisioning how to be more efficient at it, we looked into the Quick Cut Greens Harvester from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. First, I spoke with a few farmers who had tried it and read any reviews on farm blogs I could find. Then I asked Chris Siladi, our awesome rep from Johnny’s if he could arrange to have one sent to the New England Fruit and Vegetable Conference so I could hold it and “go through the motions” of harvesting imaginary salad mix in the trade show. The tipping point in the decision […]

Quick Cut Greens Harvester

tomatoes and peppers under biotelo 5
Many vegetable producers rely on black plastic mulch or a biodegradable non-gmo corn-based alternative, like BioTelo, for weed suppression, warming soils, and getting an earlier start for some crops, ultimately resulting in earlier harvests. Using BioTelo eliminates the end-of-season removal and disposal hassles that come with the plastic since it biodegrades within the season. We use BioTelo for tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, summer squash, cucumbers, and some winter squash. But unlike other growers, at this point we do not own the means of laying the mulch very efficiently. Tractor-pulled mulch-layers do this work quickly and well, with the added benefit of […]