BF 201: Planning and Growing Cover Crops

Trainer – Eero Ruuttila
Eero is the Johnny’s Selected Seeds R & D Station Operations Manager in Albion, Maine.
Eero has been managing cover crops and experimenting with new management techniques and grain/legume combinations throughout his 30 year career as an organic vegetable farmer. The utilization of cover crops has become the foundation of his soil and nutrient management farm plan as cover crops set-up his vegetable cropping rotations.

Prior positions include Beginning Farmer Educator for UConn Extension’s Scaling Up program, Incubator Farmer Coordinator for the New Entry Sustainable Farmer Program in Lowell, MA, and for 22 years, director & farm manager of the 65-acre certified organic nonprofit Nesenkeag Farm in Litchfield, NH.
Eero assisted with the writing of Mass NOFA’s original certified organic farming standards and served as Mass. NOFA’s 1st organic farm inspector. Eero also served on the Administration Council and Grants Review Committee for Northeast SARE. Eero was one of 10 growers featured in Vern Grubinger’s SARE educational video on NE cover crop systems, Farmers and Their Innovative Cover Cropping Techniques.

Training Objectives:
The objective of this course is to provide a basic understanding of how cover crops can improve soil health and can fit into cash crop vegetable operations. Curriculum will include:

1) a detailed overview of the dynamics and many soil benefits cover crops can provide for a mixed vegetable crop market garden or farm

2) opportunities to realize significant income from the sale of select cover crop tendrils, flowers, and leafy greens

3) an evaluation of the biological characteristics of individual Northeast cover crop species with suggested seeding rates, equipment for establishing and terminating stands of cover crops & how to determine nutrient credits for cash crops that follow cover crops