Course Information

Please see the course information below.
 
  Course:      ELND 109F - Organic Farming: Fall  
 
  Catalog Desc:  
(No prerequisite.)
Academic study and hands-on training in the basic skills and procedures of organic farming and gardening. Topics include applied soil science, management of long-term soil fertility, establishment of greenhouse systems and applicable methods of plant propagation, a review of basic botany for gardeners, site analysis, and Fall plant selection. (CSU)
 
 
  Expected Outcomes:  
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Design and establish an organic garden based on ecological principles.
2. Apply organic regulations in the establishment and maintenance of a farm and garden.
3. Translate the design and principles for the farm and market into project and management plan.
4. Participate in the processes necessary to establish and maintain a year-round (seasonal) hands-on organic farm and gardening operation with a focus on Fall.
5. Integrate principles of soil management, fertility management, propagation techniques and practices of an organic garden with a focus on Fall.
6. Participate in the creation of a planting plan and crop rotation system with focus on Fall.
7. Select plant material appropriate for site and intention with focus on Fall.
8. Recognize poor soil preparation and drainage.
9. Evaluate poor soil preparation and drainage.
10. Correct and mitigate poor soil preparation and drainage. 
11. Apply knowledge of optimal harvest principles with focus on Fall.
12. Plan and prepare for optimal Fall harvest.
13. Use diverse sources of information (i.e. internet, practicing farms/farmers, local gardeners).
 
 
  Critical Thinking:  
Please note: While each of these assignments is particular to establishing and managing an OFG, the assignments are designed to develop critical thinking to establish sustainable organically grown food systems.

1. Students will analyze competing factors and environmental concerns to design an organic farm and garden.
2. Students will investigate the native plant communities present at the IVOFG in order to understand how Bay Area microclimates and specific native plant communities influence the selection and culture of an environmentally adaptable plantscape for the OFG.
3. Students will analyze the data contained in a professional soil sample report on the IVOFG in order to determine the appropriate ratio and application of organically approved amendments for building and maintaining long-term soil fertility in the garden.
4.Students will analyze the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil and water availability for plants at the IVOFG in order to determine and establish an ecologically sound and seasonally adaptable approach to irrigation.
5. Students will analyze and learn to identify common insects, disease and weeds found in a healthy organic food system in order to determine which approaches to Integrated Pest Management are applicable to OFG.
6. Students will analyze different greenhouse, hoop house and outdoor propagation techniques and determine which methods of propagation are conducive to year-round fertility and productivity in a healthy, sustainable food system.
 
 
  Lecture Content:  
The following topics will focus on Fall climatic conditions and considerations:
A. Getting to Know the Land
   1. Course introduction with slides running
   2. Student introduction, and why they are here
   3. Purpose, power and possibilities of the farm
   4. Site walk
   5. Walk in the near-by wild to observe natural conditions
B. Practical Application of Site Analysis
   1. What are we looking for at the site? Very basic site condition overview, discussion and Q&A
   2. Analyze and evaluate the soil; digging in the ground and working with the soil by hand. Groups of students will begin to dig beds by hand.
   3. Analyze and evaluate the manure piles. Basic talk on soil conditions for bed preparation
   4. Compare soil samples from other farms
C. Develop Project Management Plan
   1. What do we need to farm? Compost, amendments, seeds and plant materials, tools, tractors, etc.
   2. Organic certification
   3. Fertility: practical building of compost pile
   4. Adding fertility to the beds (pre-made compost)
   5. Work on beds
D. Planting the Farm & Garden
   1. Planting methodology for seeds
   2. Planting methodology for starts
   3. Planting methodology for tubers and rhizomes
   4. Moons, soil temperature and weather
   5. Planting the beds in teams
   6. Planting flats
E. Field Trip to Green Gulch Farm
   Planting the Farm & Garden
   1. Plant propagation
   2. Genetics: Botany for Gardeners
   3. Methods for tending seedlings
   4. Greenhouse culture and maintenance 
   5. More greenhouse planting
   6. Maintaining the beds, digging new beds
   7. Cover crop planting with tractor
F. Irrigation & Water Theory
   1. Water for gardeners and farmers
   2. Where do we get it?
   3. Irrigation: general and systems
   4. Our needs and conditions
   5. Applying drip tape systems in the field
   6. Over head system in the field
G. Cycle of the Garden
   1. IPM
   2. Plant disease
   3. Spring planning and systems
   4. General garden and greenhouse maintenance
I. Harvesting, Marketing, & Post-Processing
   1. Surveys of marketing opportunities
   2. What is post harvest processing?
   3. Farm-gate revues, profit and loss
   4. Keeping the farm going
 
 
  Lab Content:  
Included in Lecture description.