Dig Deeper


Ask the Scientist: Soil amendments for greenhouse tomatoes

Rodale Institute Compost Production Specialist Rick Carr talks about what is happening in our fields and yours.

Marissa asks:

I work for an organic tomato greenhouse up in Maine. We are using a soil-less mix, compost and fertilizer from a local gentleman. It has produced wonderful results, however, already at this point in the season we have depleted our mix of nutrients and our heirloom varieties are starting to show flower abortion and die off. I was wondering if you might help in figuring out how we can overcome this issue with top dressing with compost and specific amendments. Thank you for your time. (more…)

Veteran Organic Farming Program

In collaboration with the Rodale Institute, Delaware Valley College (DelVal) offers a 36-credit certificate program specifically designed for military veterans interested in organic farming.

The one-year program incorporates classroom courses on animal science, marketing, plant disease diagnosis and entomology during the fall and spring semesters on the DelVal campus. During the summer semester, students take classes and get hands-on experience at the Rodale Institute. Fall and spring academic schedules are flexible and can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis, but students must enroll in all three courses as scheduled in the summer term at the Rodale Institute.

Participants who complete the program leave with the knowledge and experience necessary to run an organic farm or work for an organic operation. The program offers assistance with job placement and developing business plans so that graduates are can move right into rewarding careers in organic agriculture.

DelVal is proud to be a Yellow Ribbon School. Veterans who are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill will have up to 100% of their tuition paid by their GI Bill, in addition to receiving funds for living expenses and books while completing the program. Students are mostly military veterans, but the program is open to non-veterans who are willing to cover the full cost of the tuition.

Farm Photo Friday: June 20, 2014

Every Friday we share some snaps from our 333-acres in Kutztown, PA. Our photographers? The staff members who keep this farm chugging along. Enjoy a sneak peek at what’s going on here at Rodale Institute!

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Bloom Alert: June 18, 2014

This week’s blooms have a common theme: all in white! Simplicity and modesty mark the blooms for this week as our wildflowers in the Demonstration Gardens humbly declare their visual presence. Swaths of daisies and yarrow adorn the paths of the gardens and are ready to go home with you to brighten up your day. Did you know that in the Victorian era, it was believed to be unlucky if you transplanted wild daisies into a cultivated garden? Fortunately, we have loads of them to take home. Cut your own or call ahead to request a bunch for pickup at our Garden Store.

When you stop by to cut your own daisies, make sure you are not cutting their smaller look-alike, chamomile. Chamomile is also in full bloom and is for sale as cut-your-own flowers, but you can easily tell the difference between the two flowers by their sizes. Chamomile is much smaller than a daisy, and it also has the subtle calming fragrance associated with chamomile flowers. It smells just like chamomile tea!!

We also have huge Rose of Sharon bushes and each white blossom is about to POP! The branches make a GORGEOUS cut flower display in large vases and provide amazing lushness to any indoor cut flower arrangement. Contact our Garden Store for more information.

Rodale Institute is THE place for pick-your-own ORGANIC flowers! Our Bloom Alerts will keep in the loop so you know when to come out to the farm for fresh organic flowers. Check back to see what is bursting forth each week or sign up for our e-newsletter and we’ll let you know when they are ready to pick!

For more information on the who, what, when, and where of pick-your-own flowers at the farm, contact our Garden Store.

Bringing the farmers’ market to your door

By Matthew Flood

Like many mission-driven enterprises, Door to Door Organics began small and scrappy, operating out of a humble home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Since 1997, we’ve been connecting folks in northeastern Pennsylvania with Good Food from small family farms by delivering seasonal, local, and organic produce and locally produced natural grocery items to homes, businesses, and schools. Now based in Ottsville, Pennsylvania, Door to Door Organics continues to support our founder’s mission to make eating local easier and more accessible. (more…)

Farm Photo Friday: June 13, 2014

Every Friday we share some snaps from our 333-acres in Kutztown, PA. Our photographers? The staff members who keep this farm chugging along. Enjoy a sneak peek at what’s going on here at Rodale Institute! (more…)

Ask the Farmer: Expanding to a mechanized system

Rodale Institute Farm Director Jeff Moyer answers your questions.

Ben asks:

We are a small 50-acre farm with mostly woods and woodsy pasture. We are not organic certified, but practice organic methods. We have two gardens totaling roughly six to seven acres and are considering buying 100 acres of additional land connected to our farm to expand into other markets and opportunities.

We currently do hand cultivating, hand seeding, and hand transplanting, with the tractor used for plowing, rototilling, and soil prep things. We’d like to transition to machine cultivation, harvesting, etc. but there aren’t many farms around us that are in this transition period. We would like to remain as self-sufficient as possible. Can you provide any insight? If it’d be helpful, here are some of the things we wish to expand: field corn (10 acres), sweet corn (5-10 acres), carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and leeks. (more…)

Bloom Alert: June 11, 2014

Even though our tulips are no longer in bloom, there are still plenty of beautiful flowers to see here at the farm. While walking around today, some of the most striking flowers in bloom were these tiger lilies. Their vibrant orange color certainly brightened up this dreary week! We only have one cluster of lilies this year, however we planted a small patch that will be absolutely gorgeous for picking next year.

Another plant that is in full flower is our rhubarb. This vegetable is often used much like a fruit and is popular in desserts like pies, tarts and cakes, but did you know that its leaves are poisonous? They contain toxic levels of oxalic acid, which is why only the stalks are used in cooking and baking.

Although you can’t eat the leaves, they are still a valuable garden resource. If you boil the leaves in water for 15-20 minutes, let cool, strain, and put in a spray bottle, you will have a very effective organic insecticide for all leaf-eating insects (like cabbage worms)!

Bunches of rhubarb will be available in the Rodale Institute Garden Store
Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. –to 4 p.m. {VISIT}

Rodale Institute is THE place for pick-your-own ORGANIC flowers! Our Bloom Alerts will keep in the loop so you know when to come out to the farm for fresh organic flowers. Check back to see what is bursting forth each week or sign up for our e-newsletter and we’ll let you know when they are ready to pick!

For more information on the who, what, when, and where of pick-your-own flowers at the farm, contact our Garden Store.