This field day is geared toward all BC farmers interested in learning more about cover cropping in agriculture.
Join us for a cover cropping field day where we will tour Thistle Farm in Wynndel. Cover cropping is a method of planting that helps build healthy soil and can be practiced in any farming operation. Cover cropping is a method of planting that helps build healthy soil and can be practiced in any farming operation. Cover cropping keeps the ground covered and helps with continued carbon sequestration in non-production areas. They significantly reduce emissions from nitrogen fertilizers by providing healthy nutrients to the soil. When carefully chosen and managed correctly, cover crops can benefit production for farmers and help mitigate climate change.
We invite farmers to join us and hear from our host farmer, tour Thistle Farm and learn about their unique cover cropping program. Farmers will be able to meet other farmers in the area and learn about different operations. We invite industry specialists and farmer support organizations to attend and support farmers at this field day, answering questions and providing relevant information. The day will include a tour of the rotating plots of diverse cover cropped areas, a demonstration of tilling in their current cover cropped area, and significant time for questions and conversation.
Kootenay Boundary Farm Advisors
The Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors (KBFA) is an agricultural extension program that provides producers with free technical production support and information. KBFA supports producers to improve agricultural production and efficiency by helping find solutions to farm-specific production issues, coordinating educational events and connecting producers to information. KBFA are a significant resource for farmers in the Kootenay area and are well connected producers and support networks. They are supportive and collaborative in pulling together this field day and will attend and offer support to producers on the day of.
About Thistle Farm
Thistle Farm is a 4-acre property, growing approximately an acre of garlic annually. They work on a three year rotation with their garlic varieties and grow a variety of vegetables in their small market garden for sale at farmers markets, wholesale and a handful of retailers in the Kootenays. They operate a commercial kitchen, The Garlic Shop, for value added products such as bottled products and dehydrated goods.
They operate a unique cover cropping program focusing on disease prevention, weed suppression and adding organic matter to their soil. Being in a flood plain, they deal with heavy, silty soil. Their greatest cover cropping success is from their treatment of biofumigant mustards, aiding significantly in disease prevention as they rotate their garlic. They use tillage radish over winter and often add an oat pea cover crop to some areas. This year, they plan to experiment with winter rye on one block and monitor the success rate. Their cover cropping program aims to ensure sufficient ground cover and effective weed suppression. Previous cover crop experiments include buckwheat and several pea varieties.
Kip and Michelle Cantrell and their two small kids operate Thistle Farm. The two have been in agriculture for 15 years, mainly working on other farms as farm hands. Kip is from Washington state, and Michelle is from Sept-Îles, Quebec. The pair worked in agriculture seasonally before settling down in the Kootenays, where they began growing their businesses on another nearby farm. This unique shared land opportunity allowed them to learn from mentors while they set up Thistle Farm.