Tag Archive for CT NOFA

Learn About Gardening, Small-Scale Farming – CT NOFA Winter Conference

If you are interested in growing your own food, community gardening, small-scale farming, or any related topics consider attending the CT NOFA Winter Conference on Saturday, March 1, 2014.

Held at Western Connecticut State University, this year’s conference will be the 32nd annual winter conference held by the Connecticut chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). CT NOFA consists of farmers, gardeners, land care professionals and consumers working together to promote healthy, organic, and sustainable gardening and farming practices. CT NOFA also works to educate consumers about such practices and encourages them to support local growers and farmers growing food using such methods.

Press Release Winter Conference 2014 (2)One does not have to be a large grower to glean useful and valuable information and training from the many, many topics presented at the Winter Conference. Anyone, even balcony gardeners, interested in learning more about organic and sustainable food growing and production methods can find something of interest at the conference.

Click topics to scroll through the long list of workshops. Click Registration to sign up.

Registration remains open until February 24, 2014.

Even if you cannot attend CT NOFA’s Winter Conference, take some time to learn more about CT NOFA. They offer resources for gardeners, seasoned farmers and those wanting to try their farming skills, creating school and community gardens, organic landscape practices, and they annually publish a guide to Connecticut’s Organic Farms and Orchards.

Getting to know CT NOFA is a wonderful way to increase your understanding of and connection to local growers, some of whom may be your neighbors.

AT a time when consumers are so bombarded by goods and services from lands afar, CT NOFA acts as a local resource for local growers, producers and consumers.

Check them out.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Joene Hendry

Why Visit the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show?

Hartford Flower show 2010In case you haven’t heard, the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show 2012 opens at 10:00 am Thursday, February 23 and runs daily through Sunday, February 26. It features many Connecticut-based nursery and horticulture-related businesses and organizations under one roof so visitors get a taste for what’s available once the local gardening season really begins humming.

If you’re one of the Nutmeg State garden and plant lovers still undecided about visiting the show perhaps one of the reasons I attend will help you decide to do the same.

  • It’s Local. It puts a face on nurseries, garden- and landscape-related vendors, and horticultural organizations Connecticut residents are most likely to use and seek advice from.  Some of my favorite booths at past shows include Ballek’s Garden Center (this year at booths 900 and 902, and Landscape #2) for their fragrant welcome, inspiring display, and sage advice; Adam’s Watergardens (this year at booth 1052 and Landscape #6) and Pondering Creations (this year at Landscape #9) for creative water garden ideas; and Connecticut Greenhouse Growers and Connecticut Nurserymen (this year at Landscape #7 and #16, respectively) for their CT grown plants.
  • Pondering Creations, CT Flower and Garden Show 2010
  • It’s in February, in my mind the dreariest month of Connecticut’s year. I need the emotional lift I get walking by racks of blooming plants and smelling spring bulbs and potted herbs.
  • I can touch things. I can test how a pruner or other gardening tool feels in my hands, try on gloves,feel the weight of pots and planters, or check out the construction of a product I might only have seen in magazines or on a website. Plus, many vendors run special show prices which can save money.
  • I collect information. By the time my visit is complete my tote bag is heavy with plant and product catalogues. Not yet a Connecticut Gardener subscriber? Sign up at booth 831, get a glimpse of the latest issue, or pick up some back issues at a reduced price. Learn about Connecticut Historic Gardens at booth 413. Pick up soil sample kits at the UConn Master Gardeners booths (#415 and 417) or, better yet, bring a soil sample for free testing there. You can learn about Master Gardener classes, the Northeast Organic Farming Association (booth 555) and its local chapter CT NOFA, The Connecticut Horticultural Society (Landscape #1), and many other local groups, or sit through one of the numerous gardening seminars.
  • I go with friends. This is the best part. I share my hours sniffing scents, noting plants, and taking in the start of the growing season with gardening friends. We compare observations, discuss experiences and make plans for future gardens.

Adam's Watergardens, CT Flower and Garden Show 2010Don’t go to the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show expecting something on the larger scale of the Boston or Philadelphia flower shows. Go with a local eye to meet and greet the plant, landscape and hardscape resources you are most likely to deal with on a regular basis in your own home state.

On the whole, it’s a great way to spend a February day in preparation for gardening thoughtfully in 2012.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Joene Hendry

Newsy Notes: Growing Organic Veggies, Invasive IDs, an Artificial Leaf

Here’s a list of few opportunities for local gardeners and wanna-be gardeners to hone their organic veggie growing skills and for those seeking outdoor invasive plant ID training, plus there’s a peek into a new and very cool technology.

color from the gardenGrowing Organic Vegetables
Want to grow vegetables organically at home but don’t know where to start? Bill Duesing, the executive director of CT NOFA (Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association), will share his hands-on experience on April 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby, Connecticut. Bill is an organic farmer when he is not advocating for healthy environmental land care practices. A CT DEP press release offers more information and registration contacts. With a $4 donation ($2 for students and children) you’ll learn organic gardening practices from one of the best, plus it’s hard not to catch Bill’s enthusiasm for organic growing.

Other Organic Gardening Sessions
Connecticut Organic Gardening Education Day – April 2, 2011 is a CT NOFA sponsored event at multiple locations, offering education on soils, compost and starting seeds. Growing Food in Small Spaces – April 9, 2011 in New Haven – offers tips on growing edible plants in a variety of containers.

Japanese barberry2-4-29-10Identifying Connecticut’s Invasive Plants
A few hardy souls will have the chance to attend either of two one-day, hands-on, in the woods sessions on identifying invasive plants. Why is it important to do this now rather than wait until everything leafs out? Clearing invasive plants is best done when the soil is no longer frozen and most plants and trees are still dormant. But knowing which plant is invasive takes some practice and training, information field botanist Bill Moorhead will impart on a limited number of attendees during the April 1 and April 8, 2011 workshops. Read more about these sessions at the CT NOFA blog.

I must admit when the headline Debut of the First Practical ‘Artificial Leaf’ caught my eye it conjured up something like the aluminum Christmas trees Charlie Brown and Linus passed by in their search for a real tree, but the artificial leaf this article refers to looks nothing like a real plant leaf. It’s actually a new type of solar cell, about the size of a playing card, that converts sunlight and water into energy much like a leaf does – it photosynthesizes. Lead researcher Daniel Nocera, PhD, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reports the current solar cell design built on lessons learned a decade ago during development of a similar solar cell. The beauty of the new version is its use of readily accessible and inexpensive materials. The solar cell produces electricity by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. Extra energy is then saved in a fuel cell. Besides the coolness of this concept – it can be used in underdeveloped regions, works under simple conditions, and is stable – I’m particularly struck by Nocera’s quote, "Nature is powered by photosynthesis, and I think that the future world will be powered by photosynthesis as well …"

What a concept … since nature is powered by photosynthesis, we might learn and succeed by copying nature. Nocera et al follow this concept in creating their solar cell. Less technologically-inclined folk can copy nature simply by gardening organically.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Joene Hendry