by Fred Salo
A farm meeting, illustrating the compost by Coring Injection method, was held at Salomaa Tree Plantation in Stannard, VT, Saturday, Sept. 14. Growers from six northeast SARE States were present for this all day event.
Fred Salo, grower and the SARE grant recipient, gave opening remarks and then presented the project in general, with specifics on test results to date. With the help of Jeff Carter, UVM extension, agronimist (also a tree grower) and advisor to the project, discussed the outcome of the composted trial blocks as opposed to the “control” areas. (As a grower, increased bud set for next year appears significant but because this is a three year project final results will be reserved for after the 2014 testing.)
Then attendees heard the following guest speakers. From Cornell soil test labs, Robert Schindelbeck demonstrating the most up-to-date method of testing soil health and lecturing on the importance of caring for your farm soil. It turns out soils are much more delicate than one would think. His passion for the subject will not be forgotten. A great educator! Tom Gilbert, past executive director for Highfields Composting, located in Hardwick, VT delivered facts on compost, defining the derivatives of a perfect mix and the other sources that, although may not be complete, act as a good soil additive. He reminded everyone to use caution as to the source to assure no unwanted ingredients. Without question Tom is a leading GURU on the subject.
A big hit was the ‘parade’ of equipment through the trees. Greg Crown, employee, demonstrated a Classen Core aerating machine that was key to the project. Then the real jewels, two self propelled Top Dresser-Compost Spreaders made by Ecolawn were demonstrated by Keith Schuler, sales manager, and Larry Moffett from Precision Works, Inc., a distributor from Long Island, NY. No question of the ease of application of compost as opposed to the five gallon bucket brigade actually used for the project.
After an ‘on-site’ prepared barbecue lunch it was a walking tour of the test blocks for a hands-on, eye-level look at the results one year of compost made on the Balsam and Fraser fir trees.
Even though this day started out very wet and cold a great day was had by all. It has to be said that this persevering shows the persistence Christmas Tree Growers have for this type of farming. Tree farmers are special people!