Dig Deeper

Designing your Farm for Weed Management

Weed management toolsBy John and Aimee Good

Many beginning farmers overlook the fact that weed management is the most labor intensive aspect of growing organic vegetables. Not using the right weed management tools at the right time can lead to a long season of trying to save crops buried knee deep in the weeds. If your approach to weed management is reactive rather than proactive, you do not stand a chance. Before planting a single seed, it is vital to have a plan for efficiently and effectively managing the weeds. This will ultimately determine the crops’ chance for success. (more…)

Vintage NF: Beyond Your Own Fence Posts

By New Farm Editors, 2002

Organic farming is not just about making a higher profit. Most of us realize that in our bones. Sure, we have to make a living. And, sure, we live and die on the gritty details of compost and cover crops, tillers and no-till. But we are stewards of more than just our soil and our farm and we all draw meaning and sustenance from what we accomplish beyond our own fence posts. By farming organically, we are regenerating the soil, returning the land to its natural state. We are also regenerating the health of ourselves and our family by reducing or eliminating chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. (more…)

The Art of Animal Husbandry

By Dr. Hubert Karreman

Practitioners of the art of animal husbandry have the ability to understand the workings of a farm that a person steeped in science will never come close to understanding in its strict methodological manner. Whereas animal husbandry allows us to insert ourselves completely into the life of the farm, animal science specifically and intentionally removes the human factor as much as possible so as to isolate factors and determine which one factor can then be manipulated and controlled.

Anyone with any common sense knows that a farm is its own living organism and one can never isolate a single factor in trying to arrive at a meaningful answer. To look at a single factor among all the interactions of various levels of life on the farm is next to impossible. Food produced by the latest animal science will never be as alive and healthy as food produced based on the stewardship inherent in good animal husbandry which allows animals to graze a diversified diet. (more…)

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!


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…)