Agro-Ecology Webinar Series

To Till or Not To Till

Trainer – Andrew Mefferd, Farmer, Editor of Growing For Market magazine, and Author

Much of the interest in no-till farming comes from a desire to avoid the negative effects of tillage. So, before talking about how to do no-till, we should talk about why people want to go no-till in the first place. Negatives associated with tillage include soil compaction, stirring up weed seeds, burning up organic matter, and taking a lot of time and equipment. Positives of good no-till systems include carbon sequestration, labor savings, increasing soil life and diversity (including the important fungal component of the soil), and increasing the water-holding capacity of the soil. Most no-till systems break down into a few broad categories of systems to prepare land without tillage. We will look at those systems, including the use of organic mulches grown in place (the roller-crimper method), deep organic mulches applied to the soil, and the use of non-organic mulches to smother weeds before planting (occultation and solarization). Most farms use more than one of these methods to achieve productivity without tillage, so we'll talk about the pros and cons of each in order to come up with a mix to try on your farm. To view a recording of this workshop, Click Here

Using Soil Testing

Trainer – Dawn Pettinelli, Associate Extension Educator, UConn Extension

This short presentation goes over what the Soils Lab at UConn can offer farmers in the region and why soil testing and plant analysis is helpful.  It will also cover briefly how to read the results from your test and how to go about taking a soil test on your farm.

Soil Testing at UConn slides

On Farm Composting, 2021

Trainer - James McSweeney, Owner- Compost Technical Services and Author

Small choices in methodology, raw material, and management can make a big difference in a farm’s ability to create quality compost for use or sale in high value markets. Drawing from his 2019 book, Community-Scale Composting Systems: A Comprehensive Practical Guide to Closing the Food System Loop and Solving Our Waste Crisis, James will provide insight into the pros and cons of the most widely used on-farm composting methods, with a focus on creating consistency and efficiency through planning and management. This talk is intended for both novice and experienced composters who are looking to develop their farm’s or community’s composting capacity. To view a recording Click Here


This project is  supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2020-70017-32733.
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