Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County presents an exciting new program for those interested in farming or implementing farming techniques on their residential property. The second of the two-part Beginner Farmers Workshop series, the May 1 workshop will feature “Suburban Organic Homesteading,” conducted by Joseph Heckman, soil scientist and professor at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) and Bill Hlubik, agricultural agent and department head, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County.
The session, which will explore small-farm enterprises and the concepts of healthy soil and water quality as the foundation of healthy crops, is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. in Monroe Township, NJ. Participation in the first workshop “Getting Started Farming – Basics of Traditional and Organic Styles, which took place on April 17, is not required for the second installment.
The location of the workshop, River Birch Micro-Farm in Middlesex County, was established on two acres in 1998. On this tour, participants will observe a variety of traditional and natural methods used in the design of a sustainable homestead. Demonstrations will include chickens on pasture, tree crops and edible landscaping, soil fertility improvements using composting, organic vegetables and barn construction with a portable sawmill.
Heckman teaches courses in soil fertility, organic crop production and agro-ecology. As soil fertility specialist for Rutgers NJAES, he provides recommendations for horticultural crops grown in New Jersey by conventional and organic farmers. The primary goal of his research is to support healthy plant and animal ecosystems producing nutritious food for human health and sustainable communities. Heckman publishes The Soil Profile, a statewide newsletter concerned with soil fertility and plant nutrition. He is a board member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey.
To register for the program, contact the Middlesex County Extension office at 732-398-5262. A donation of $15 will be accepted for program materials and an organic snack will be provided. Advance registration is required by April 26.