Tools


rototilling 4
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 considered an allowable input. Farmers from across the country were understandably upset and confused. Biofilms offer benefits in weed control and soil warming.  And they biodegrade within 2 seasons, eliminating the need to be picked up. Every ecologically-minded farmer who was using or wanted the benefits of regular plastic mulch, was happy to avoid adding more waste to the landfill. When I first learned about non-GMO, corn starch-based biofilms, I was excited […]

Biodegradable Plastic Mulches No Longer Allowed in Canadian ...


Landscape fabric 9
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


DIY Germination Chamber 11
On our farm, projects start with internet research and often use odd pieces of “junk” we’ve got hanging around. One 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. Many growers use a germination (or sweat) chamber to reduce: space that seedling trays take up before the baby plants emerge (when they all need light) frequency of watering (which also relates to algae growth) Since we moved to this farm, we’ve started our transplants many different ways. In the 1st few years, we made […]

DIY Germination Chamber



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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


Quick Cut Greens Harvester 7
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. We spoke with some farmers who had tried it and read any reviews we could find. Chris Siladi, our awesome rep from Johnny’s arranged to have one at the New England Fruit and Vegetable Conference. I wanted to hold it and “go through the motions” of harvesting imaginary salad mix in the trade show. The tipping point in the decision to buy it came from Randy Cummings from Johnny’s who said that […]

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 […]

Mulch-laying