Poultry Management with Chicken Tractor – Saturday, September 18th 2021, 10-12
Interested in raising healthy chickens? Why not consider pasturing them by building a range house that can be moved to fresh grass every day and let them gorge on the soil critters they love to eat. We will talk about how to use such a house, and present designs for several styles – ones which can be moved by one person and ones which accommodate more birds but requires two people to move. Egg collection, feeding and watering, and security from roaming dogs and wildlife will be discussed. The second half of the workshop will be a hands-on experience helping build such a house.
The workshop will be on Saturday, September 18th from 10:00 to 12:00, at the farm. We will be both outside and inside, rain or shine. Come with or without a mask, whichever is most comfortable for you. Stick around for a potluck lunch if you like right at the end of the workshop. Register below.
We offer this workshop for a sliding scale donation. We truly appreciate it if you can donate to help cover costs and allow others who do not have the means to pay to attend. After registration donations can be made via PayPal at https://mhof.net/many-hands-sustainability-center/ or in cash/check the day of the workshop. MHSC is a 501(c)3 and any donation is tax deductible.
Starting Seeds and Seedlings in Greenhouse and Field- May 8th 2021, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Clare and Julie will take you through our seed starting and planting protocols from greenhouse to hoophouse to field. We will all together start seeds inside, plant in the field and also spend some time on our theories and practice (which don’t always conform with the norm) on how to get plants off of their best footing and keep them thriving throughout the season. May 8 is a “leaf” day on the biodynamic calendar, so we might be expecting some rain that day – a perfect day for transplanting leafy vegetables.
Mushroom Growing – April 10th 2021, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Tis the season for creating new life, including mushrooms! On April 10, join the cast and crew at Many Hands Organic Farm for 2 hours of hands on learning. We’ll be hefting logs, plugging them with shitake spawn, and sealing the plugs over with cheese wax. When we’re done with that we’ll start our first ever oyster totems, using poplar logs. Potluck lunch to follow, questions encouraged, comraderie required.
Organic Small Fruit Production – March 20th 2021, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Here at MHOF we have a plethora of small fruit that we distribute in our CSA and preserve for home use. In the workshop, we will start with a powerpoint on small fruit culture and pruning and fertility. Once we move outside we will try our hands at pruning blueberries, grapes, red raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, elderberries, etc. We will spend a little time with the strawberries also. We will demonstrate our mulching and care practices. Clare, Jack and Julie will be our presenters.
Organic Fruit Tree Management – February 27 2021, 10:00 – 12:00
At MHOF we have about 100 fruit trees with some of them as old as 40 years. They are managed in a certifiably organic fashion and both orchards are grazed at least once per year by our turkeys or chickens.
During the workshop, Jack will cover the biology of grafted fruit seedlings (including selecting root stock and variety), requirements for properly siting the orchard (including spacing the trees and digging and protecting adequate planting holes), the tools and equipment you will need, and managing the growing trees for shape, health, and light penetration as well as fruit size, quality and quantity.
In the section on fertility, Julie will discuss mulching, with cardboard and chips, dry fertility according to soil tests, foliar feeding throughout the growing season and the use of sap tests to determine in the moment nutrient deficiencies. We will also discuss care under the trees including grazing of animals, mowing, use of comfrey and undersowing of perennial pollinator plants.
In the portion of the workshop led by Clare we’ll take a walk through the orchards at Many Hands to look at the spacing of trees and work on pruning an apple and a peach tree together. We will cover identifying dead wood, making cuts for good airflow and sunlight throughout the whole tree to maximize photosynthesis, and talk about overall shaping of the tree.
5 Risky Decisions that Defined Our Lives – Sustaining Our Homestead – January 30, 2021
43 years ago Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson were a young couple working and starting a family in Dorchester, MA. During the next few years we made five risky decisions that changed our life paths and created Many Hands Organic Farm in Barre.
In the past year (2020) many volunteers have come from the city to work on our farm and expressed an interest in doing something similar. In this presentation we will share what we did, the difficulties it presented and the chances we took. Join us to learn about why we decided to move to Central Massachusetts, and how we were able to construct an energy conscious house and homestead, and build a community oriented organic farm, while working at home and raising a family.
NOFA Winter Conference 2021: Root Cellaring And More – Preserving Food For The Entire Year
9:00 am – 10:30 am on January 9th, 2021
We built our root cellar into our house 40 years ago and have nothing but good things to say about using this means for preserving carrots, potatoes, beets, turnips and rutabagas,apples, pears and sauerkraut, with short term storage for onions, garlic, winter squash too. We will discuss design and usage. We will also cover freezing, canning, and drying during the workshop.
A radical shift in our farming practices over the past 6 years has resulted in more and higher quality food, clamoring customers and farmer satisfaction. We’ll discuss the practices on our diversified animal, vegetable and fruit farm, all in the context of emerging scientific discovery about soil carbon.
Jack Kittredge, Certified organic farmer, editor of The Natural Farmer, and soil carbon author.