This report relates the Kerr Center's experiences with small-scale farming and gardening tools during a decade of bio-extensive management on the Cannon Horticulture Plots. Tools evaluated include spades, digging forks, broadforks, hoes, soil rakes, cultivators,...
The Kerr Center’s horticulture program shows farmers and gardeners, from beginners on up, how to sustainably grow vegetable crops.
The six+ acre Cannon Horticulture Project, certified organic in 2011, is founded on organic system design and management. Organic certification was allowed to lapse in 2017, but organic management continues in order to permit easy re-certification in the future. Demonstrations are tailored to organic home and market gardens in the same size range.
Harvests go to local food pantries, into meals served at Kerr Center events, and to staff.
Both cover crops and some cash crops (e.g. sunflowers), as well as border plantings, provide habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators.
Production practices emphasize:
- the right tools for the right jobs
- season extension to get crops both early and late, and
- a holistic approach to pest management.
In addition to demonstrating organic production methods, the Cannon plots serve as an outdoor, on-farm classroom for college interns, farmer training programs, and public field days.
Our four-year bioextensive rotation starts from the ground up, building healthy soil with on-farm resources, using techniques including