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No-Till and Cover Cropping: Techniques to Save Time & Increase Soil Health
9:00 AM09:00

No-Till and Cover Cropping: Techniques to Save Time & Increase Soil Health

Join us Sunday, September 29th for an informative tour of Wild Hope Farm and a workshop focused around No-Till and Cover Cropping Techniques.


We currently have 6.5 acres under diverse organic vegetable & flower production, with an additional 6 acres in cover crop which we plan to add next year. No-till techniques have been critical for us in reducing our field prep time, weed pressure, labor, insect problems, plant diseases and overall expenses. We plant a significant percent of our crops into no-till including winter squash, summer squash, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, scallions, lettuce, watermelons and cantaloupe.   

9 - 10 AM Tour 

During the walking tour you will get to see our produce wash and pack area, propagation greenhouse, compost heat extraction system, water retention pond, field production, solar systems and more! We will discuss on our regenerative approach to growing diverse organic vegetables, flowers, and laying hens, and walk you through our favorite tools/tractor attachments on the farm.

10 - 12:30 PM No Till & Cover Cropping Techniques

Learn about no-till and cover cropping best practices to help save time and energy while simultaneously increasing your land's organic matter. 

  • Part 1 (30 min) Cover Crop Selection: overview of seeding rates, timing and seeding techniques for winter and summer cover crops. 

  • Part 2 (30 min) Weed Free Cover Crops: The first step to a successful no-till program is growing a weed-free, vigorous cover crop. Learn the tricks of planting a successful cover crop including stale seed bed techniques, planting into raised beds and moisture considerations.

  • Part 3 (30 min) Roller Crimper 101: Learn how to time the crimping operation to maximize cover crop kill and prevent regrowth.

  • Part 4 (30 min) Extending Weed Suppression & Preventing Problems: Learn how to efficiently combat weeds, pests and diseases with an overview of problems for common vegetables and organic solutions. We'll also highlight mistakes we've made over the years so you don't have to do the same :)  


INSTRUCTOR: Shawn Jadrnicek is the author of The Bio-Integrated Farm: A Revolutionary Permaculture-Based System Using Greenhouses, Ponds, Compost Piles, Aquaponics, Chickens and More.  He has nourished his interest in sustainability through 22 years of work as an organic farmer, nursery grower, extension agent, arborist and landscaper, and now manages Wild Hope Farm in Chester SC.

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Illinois Specialty Growers Association Conference
8:30 AM08:30

Illinois Specialty Growers Association Conference

  • Crowne Plaza Hotel and Convention Center (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Workshop 1: Constructing Passive and Active Heating and Cooling Systems for High Tunnels and Greenhouses

  • Site Selection: Connecting to farm buildings and fields, electricity, vehicle/equipment access, micro-climate, solar access

  • Grading/Prep: Drainage, slope angles, weed control, soil prep

  • Construction: Material considerations, anchoring, snow loads

  • Heating and Cooling: Passive and active systems using internal/external ponds, barrels, hydronic heat, and solar/electric powered ventilation systems

Workshop 2: Compost Heat and Carbon Dioxide Extraction for Greenhouses and High Tunnels

  • Location considerations: Food safety, odor, drainage, solar access

  • Direct wall connections: Wall material options

  • Hydronic system connections: Internal pipe systems, concrete slab systems

  • Heat Exchangers: EPDM benchtop, barrel, pond

  • Row covers: EPDM and barrel systems

  • Carbon dioxide extraction: design and safety

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