Posts (Most Recent)

  • Starting-up Heaters without Getting Burned – Greenhouse and High Tunnel Heater Safety Checks
    As the days grow longer and warmer, we can’t help turning our attention to germination chambers, propagation houses, greenhouses, and high tunnels. It is an exciting time of year, but also a time to take some extra care with heating appliances. Before firing up the heaters in your heated growing spaces, take the time to … Read more
  • Preventing Freezing in Produce Coolers
    Occasionally, during longer cold snaps, we receive a lot of questions about storage crops freezing in coolers. This post summarizes some ideas for preventing freezing. Summary Seal up the Cooler Box The main culprit in freezing is most likely infiltration of cold, outside air into the cooler.  If you’re seeing freezing in one area, there … Read more
  • Warm Rooms for Storage Crops & Freeze Protection for Coolers
    Some crops like winter squash and sweet potatoes are ideally kept in “warm” rooms for long-term storage. It is also helpful to have some freeze protection even in cold storage rooms during the winter months when outside temperatures drop below the storage temperature. The information below should help accomplish both of these needs simply and … Read more
  • Safe and Efficient Drying and Curing of CBD Hemp
    UVM Extension Agricultural Engineering, Resource Innovation Institute, Efficiency Vermont, and VT Division of Fire Safety recently teamed up to provide a webinar as part of the UVM Extension NW Crops and Soils Team Hemp and UVM Extension New Farmer Project series. This session focused on safely and efficiently drying and curing hemp to support customer … Read more
  • Summer Twilight Series – Event Schedule
    Join us on our series of 2019 On-Farm Workshop for Commercial Vegetable and Berry Growers! Attendance at these events is free for members of the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association. The cost is $10 per-person for non-members, payable on-site. Refreshments will be served. Membership in the VVBGA costs $55 per farm, per calendar year. … Read more
  • Getting Started with a Growth Chamber
    We’ve received a number of inquiries about building germination chambers so we have decided to provide some consolidated resources and guidance. An important first step is to consider what the purpose of the chamber actually is.  There are a number of horticultural practices that benefit from dedicated, environmentally controlled spaces. These include germination, starting, propagation/transplanting, … Read more
  • Briquetting a Better, Burnable Cow Patty
    Chris recently served as a technical advisor to Rose Marie Belforti on her recent NE-SARE funded project to demonstrate a hydraulic press used to make fuel briquettes from manure and bedding.  The machine, dubbed the “Biomass Beast” by Rose, was built for $5,766 and Rose demonstrated production of briquettes at a rate of 90 dry … Read more
  • DewRight Debut: From Product to Patent
    This video is an episode from Across the Fence! It holds an interview with Judy Simpson as well as a description of the product. The video below highlights the 9min segment specifically talking about the DewRight. Read the write up from Vermont Business Magazine here. Read the press release from UVM’s University Communications here. Related posts: VPR Series … Read more
  • Improved Ventilation for High Tunnels
    I have received many inquiries about how to improve ventilation of high tunnels from growers with tunnels that have only roll-up sides. The issues they are facing tend to be either high temp, high humidity or both, leading to plant stress or disease. These situations tend to be in less than ideal sites for ventilation … Read more
  • Pumps and Pipes
    “Will the 007 be enough?”  is a common question in early spring as greenhouses around the region fire up and we do our best to keep seed trays and their cargo warm on the still-cool nights.  My mind instantly goes to “which movie?” And then I crash back to earth and realize this is a … Read more
  • Thermostats for Agriculture
    I am often asked by growers and processors to recommend a thermostat for a greenhouse, cooler, or postharvest process use.  There are many to choose from and their specifications can be confusing. It is important to remember just what a thermostat does. It is essentially no different from the light switch on the wall with … Read more
  • Vermont Farmers Food Center Heats with Biomass
    UVM Extension and others supported the recent installation of a 341,200 BTU/hr (output) multi-fuel biomass boiler at the Vermont Farmers Food Center (VFFC) in Rutland, VT.  The boiler heats the Farmer’s Hall building with the capability to use several alternative fuels to displace propane. The boiler was fueled primarily on wood pellets but was also … Read more
  • Grass and “Ag Biomass” Competitive with Wood Chips
    Recent testing at the Meach Cove Trust has demonstrated strong economic and technical feasibility of grass-based biomass combustion fuels.  The use of solid, densified, cellulosic biomass fuels has been well demonstrated with wood pellets in residential and light commercial systems and wood chips in larger, often centralized systems.  The Grass Energy Partnership of the Vermont … Read more
  • Update on Heating Greenhouses with Biomass
    This project demonstrated the use of biomass heating for greenhouse vegetable production at sites across Vermont. From 2008 through 2015, 25 growers received cost-share funds for greenhouse biomass heating systems. Related posts: Biomass Heating in Vermont Greenhouses Vermont On-Farm Biodiesel – Costs of Production Solar Hot Water Heating in Vermont Greenhouses Oilseed Economics Update 2014 … Read more
  • Calculating Greenhouse and High Tunnel Heat Loss
    I am often asked by growers to help estimate what size heater is needed for a greenhouse or what minimum temperature their high tunnel will reach at a certain outside temperature.  Below are some tools to help you do this yourself.  I have presented them in a range of complexity depending on how much you … Read more
  • Solar Hot Water Heating in Vermont Greenhouses
    Related posts: Biomass Heating in Vermont Greenhouses Efficiency Vermont Incentives for Agriculture
  • Biomass Heating in Vermont Greenhouses
    Related posts: Efficiency Vermont Incentives for Agriculture Vermont On-Farm Biodiesel – Costs of Production
  • Oilseed Economics Update 2014
    Yesterday we held our annual Oilseed Producer’s Meeting.  At this meeting, I presented an economic overview of oilseeds in Vermont.  Ina nutshell, Vermont has an installed on-farm biodiesel capacity of 600,000 gal/yr (5 sites) with a normalized initial cost of $1/gal of capacity (better than national average). Fuel can be produced for an average cost … Read more
  • Vermont On-Farm Biodiesel – Costs of Production
    I recently co-authored a summary of the economics of on-farm biodiesel with Netaka White from the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.  This report collects the economic and logistic learning from the past seven years of the Vermont Bioenergy Initiative (VBI).  The VBI has supported a wide range of sustainable fuel related efforts in Vermont.  Along with … Read more
  • FIDO – A Do-it-yourself Temperature Monitor with Text Message Alerts
    As I’ve mentioned in several other posts, I think the continual monitoring of conditions in greenhouses and food storage spaces is incredibly important for quality and safety and insightful for any operation. There is a really clever design for a do-it-yourself temperature monitoring system called Fido, on the FarmHack site.  It uses an Arduino control … Read more
  • Efficiency Vermont Incentives for Agriculture
          Are you considering any equipment upgrades in the near future.  Check Efficiency Vermont’s webpage to research available technologies and to see if any of their many incentives apply to you. They have a set of rebates specific to agriculture and some for commercial refrigeration which may apply to folks with refrigerated storage on … Read more

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