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At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

Events Calendar

  • 06

    Organic Apple Tree Management

    9:00 am-12:00 pm

    Virtual workshop, March 6, 2020, 9 am – Noon, $40, supplies included.

    This workshop will focus on organic apple tree management in the Upper Midwest. Applications will mostly be geared towards backyard growers, but some commercial management considerations will be touched on.

    Topics will include tree planting and spacing, fertilizing, pest and disease management, pruning, and grafting. Participants will receive rootstock and other needed materials in the mail prior to the event.

    Workshop Agenda
    9:00-9:20 Agenda review; planning for and establishing apple trees
    9:20-9:30 am Site preparation and building soil health
    9:30 – 10:00 am Insect pest and Disease Management
    10:00-10:15 am Break
    10:15-10:45 am Insect pest and disease management continued
    10:45-11:15 am Q&A (Break if needed)
    11:15-11:30 am Pruning
    11:30-11:45 am Grafting
    11:45-noon Final Q&A

    Instructor Deirdre Birmingham of The Cider Farm near Mineral Point, WI, helped establish the Upper Midwest Organic Fruit Growing Network while starting a tree nursery, preparing her orchard site and learning all she could about apple growing.  To get the English and French apple varieties she and her husband felt important to the quality of ciders they envisioned, she took an apple grafting class in 2003.   She now manages over 16,000 apple trees and a 1500-count tree nursery.  She is involved in the marketing and sales of their ciders and apple brandy throughout Wisconsin and Chicago, as well as assisting in their Cidery and Tasting Room in Madison, Wisconsin.  She gives monthly tours of the orchard starting with spring apple blossom.

    Workshop will be held virtually and will cost $40/participant, supplies included.

    Register online here   Pre-registration is required and registration closes March 3rd BUT REGISTER BY February 10 to ensure enough time for shipping and receiving rootstock prior to the workshop. We cannot guarantee rootstock will arrive in time if you register AFTER February 10.

    The Apple Workshop zoom link will be emailed to participants prior to the event.

    MFAI will mail a little scion wood along with rootstock for each participant, but if you love a particular apple variety and have access to that tree, plan to snip off a few inches of a couple of last year’s new growth (scion wood) to use for grafting.

    **Registrants MUST provide a good Mailing/Shipping Address at registration in order to receive the rootstock and other materials (included in the registration price) in the mail PRIOR TO the workshop.** Sorry, but we are only able to ship rootstock and grafting materials within the continental U.S.

    For questions, please contact Nicole Tautges, ntautges@michaelfields.org, or 262-642-3303, ext. 127.


  • 20

    Starting Your Own Seeds at Home Workshop

    2:00 pm-3:30 pm

    March 20, 2021, 2 pm – 3:30 pm, $40/person

    There are many benefits to starting your own seeds at home, including increased plant variety, lower cost per plant, and lower risk of bringing disease into your garden. It just take a small setup and dedicated space in your home in late winter/early spring. After an initial small investment in lights, heating pads, and planter trays, you can use this equipment year after year and reduce costs from $2/plant to $0.25/ plant for tomato and peppers, for example. Additionally, you will be able to cultivate a full array of heirloom tomatoes, quirky pepper types (chocolate habaneros, anyone?), lemony cucumbers, and other fun vegetable varietals from your favorite seed company. In this workshop, participants will learn about seed starting techniques, different planting media, what lights and other equipment helps produce the strongest starts, and how to successfully transition plants from inside to the garden.

    Workshop attendees will take home a tray with seeds planted and ready to grow at home! We have hundreds of seed packets for participants to choose from, donated by Fleet Farm of Delavan!

    Nicole Tautges, PhD, has 10 years of experience in field crop production and has been starting seeds at home since early college days at UW Madison, when she built a seed starting setup next to a small window in the loft of her college apartment building. She has since expanded her seed starting infrastructure and is experienced in starting a variety of plants at home, with a variety of equipment resources, from small-seeded herbs like thyme to needy starts like peppers. Nicole is eager to help other people expand their gardening variety through this seed starting workshop.

    **We are cognizant of the protective and preventative measures that need to be taken in the era of Covid-19. We will be holding this workshop outside if the weather is fine, or in the case of rain or cold, in the loft of the White Barn with outdoor air ventilation. In either location there will be plenty of room for social distancing. Participants should dress in warm clothes in case of cold weather. Masks will be required for all participants.**   

    For questions, please contact Nicole Tautges, ntautges@michaelfields.org, or 262-642-3303, ext. 127.

    REGISTER ONLINE HERE   Pre-registration is required.