Woodchip composting and plant propagation substrates
This course has already run in September 2017. However, if you are still interested let us know and we will look at holding the course again.
Iain Tolhurst has been growing organic vegetables on 7ha at Tolhurst Organics, Whitchurch on Thames, since 1976 and supplies 400 families in Reading and Oxford. He uses a stock free rotation, relying on green manures and is a founding member of the Vegan Organic Network. He offers a consultancy service in organic horticulture, vegetable box schemes and stock free systems, and has visited over 1000 farms in the UK and overseas, to advise about aspects of organic conversion and production. He also runs courses, writes articles and participates in farm-based research. He has been taking part in a Duchy Field Lab comparing homemade woodchip propagation compost with commercially available biochar and Klasmann composts from February 2014.
This interactive day-long course will give you a comprehensive overview of woodchip composting and plant propagation substrates. The course will combine workshop sessions with tours of the site, focusing on the practicalities of producing on-farm propagation substrates. Participants will see the composting infrastructure, plant-raising facilities and established growing site at Tolhurst Organic Gardens as well as having the opportunity to share knowledge and experience.
10.00 Arrival - Coffee and registration.
10.30 Plant raising seminar - What you need for the job, facilities and infrastructure Plant propagation is something that most growers do to some degree, anything from raising a few greenhouse crops to hundreds of thousands of plants for field-scale growing. This seminar is designed to bring everybody’s knowledge together, to share experiences and observe the system at Tolhurst Organics.
11.00 Workshop - What would be your ideal plant substrate? Propagation substrates have been a problematic area for organic producers for years. There are too few reliable products available and a heavy reliance on unsustainable or unethical materials does not bode well for the future. This group session will explore the possibility of making your own propagation substrates using local materials, covering small, intensive production in tunnels and more extensive production for field crops.
12.00 Woodchipcomposting methods Fertility building is an essential component of soil management and crop productivity. As part of any farming system some fertility is inevitably brought onto the farm. In recent years woodchip has become available and offers some wonderful opportunities to make quality compost. This session will look at this process and the possibility of using other waste materials for compost making.
12.30 Visit to our dedicated propagation area where 60,000 plants are raised annually as well as a similar number of peg plants in tunnels and outdoors.
1.30 Lunch Three courses of delicious organic produce with time to chat.
2.30 Visitto composting site to look at how woodchip compost is made at Tolhurst Organics. Annually, 300 cubic metres of compost is produced from local woodchip.
3.00 Tourof field and agroforestry site.
£35 per person for Landworkers Alliance members* and Soil Association Licensees. £45 per person for non-members.
To book and for more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The Landworkers Alliance are a organisation of people who make their livelihoods from producing food, fuel and fibre using sustainable methods of production. They campaign for the rights of small producers and a better food system – apply for membership here.