So much to learn!

I am so excited about taking Agro 3131 Student Organic Farm this spring semester.

I have limited experience with several of the aspects of organic gardening but have never worked on an organic farm to see and learn all the activities that are part of the everyday life of an organic farm. The whole class is involved in the planning, growing, harvesting and marketing of the farm, learning from those that have done this before so we can see how things are done. The strongest part of the class to me is the added hands-on learning experience that coincides with the written material. I love the location of the SOF – right here at the University of Minnesota on the St. Paul campus.  To me it is the best of both worlds.  

A few of the activities I am excited about learning about are: hands on learning and observing in preparing a compost pile.  How do you make a compost pile?  What materials work best, how big are the various pieces, how much green and brown material is necessary to go in the pile, what are the ratios of each material, how thick should each layer be and how wet does a compost pile need to be? One other curiosity to me is how do you turn the pile to help in the breakdown of the pile and is it the whole pile you turn, or parts of it?

What is the deal with adding compost and manure to the farm soil?  How do you really tell how much to add to your soil?  Where do you get it?  What brands to buy, what do you have to watch out for when shopping for compost and manure.  Are there other things besides compost and manure that are good to add to your soil?  Are the additions to the soil spread evenly throughout the beds or do different plants have different needs?

There are so many questions, and compost is just the beginning. I’m excited to see what we can learn together this semester.

Elizabeth Cassady

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