MOUNT VERNON, Iowa — Laura Krouse, of Abbe Hills Farm, will host a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day exploring ways to extend the vegetable growing season on Sunday, Oct. 6, from 3-5 p.m., near Mount Vernon (825 Abbe Hills Road, about 3 miles northwest of town).
The event – “Extending the Vegetable Season in the Field and High Tunnel” – is free to attend and will include a light supper following the field day. RSVPs are requested for the meal by Wednesday, Oct. 2. Sign up online at practicalfarmers.org/field-days, or contact Debra Boekholder at (515) 232-5661 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The field day is sponsored by Beautiful Land Products, Iowa Farmers Union and Progressive Agricultural Solutions.
Abbe Hills Farm is situated on 72 acres north of Mount Vernon. Laura and her crew grow vegetables for a large Community Supported Agriculture enterprise that supplies produce to 100 subscribers. They also supply a handful of other local markets, especially fall crops.
Guests will get to tour the farm and learn how Laura raises vegetables until late fall without needing to use a high tunnel. Laura will also show off her newest high tunnel, built in 2019, and share the results of her first season growing in it.
Topics covered will include variety selection, planting dates, harvest planning, irrigation, seeders and harvest tools, high tunnel production and obtaining cost-share through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Laura says this season has been especially challenging for crop pests and diseases. She will highlight some of the struggles she has faced and invites attendees to brainstorm ideas and share their own experiences.
“This is one of my worst farm years ever, particularly for fall crops, which for the past 30 years I have been able to grow quite well,” Laura says. “This field day can be an opportunity for all of us to learn some important lessons from one another, and to share in the struggle of farming with extreme weather.”
Laura manages Abbe Hills Farm with crop rotation, cover crops, integrated pest management and pollinator habitat, and without the use of synthetic pesticides. Soil conservation and water quality practices are used over the entire farm. Laura also serves as a soil and water conservation district commissioner.
Directions to the field day are available on Practical Farmers’ website.
This event is part of Practical Farmers’ main 2019 field day season, which includes 40 events across Iowa, and the region, on topics spanning the agricultural spectrum. The field days are meant to help connect farmers with their peers for networking and farmer-to-farmer learning.
Practical Farmers’ 2019 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Bio Till; Center for Rural Affairs; Gandy Cover Crop Seeders; Grain Millers Inc.; H.A. Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture – Iowa State University; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University; Iowa State Department of Agronomy; La Crosse Seed; Man@Machine; MOSA Certified Organic; Niman Ranch; PepsiCo; Pipeline Foods; Premier 1 Supplies; River Valley Cooperative; Scoular; Sunderman Farm Management; Sunrise Foods International; Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education; Trees Forever; Unilever; Welter Seed & Honey Company.
— Practical Farmers of Iowa
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