VABF Information Sheets

Detailed information about a variety of topics in sustainable agriculture.

Asparagus: Organic Production in Virginia
Site selection, preparing the bed, asparagus beetle and other pests, diseases, first-year second-year and third-year culture, harvest, suppliers.

Caring for the Soil as a Living System
Basic information on soil makeup and structure, and systems to improve soil fertility and health.

Cover Cropping: On-farm Solar-powered Soil Building
What is a cover crop? why the are important, when to plant, how to grow and manage cover crops, seed sources.

Cover Crops for all Seasons
Cover cropping is a technique to improve soil health. This article discusses theory and strategy for growing cover crops to eliminate erosion, maximize biomass, optimize nitrogen dynamics, and minimize bare-soil periods.

How to Use a Soil Test
What a test tells you, taking the sample, mineral amendments, reading and understanding the report, avoiding pitfalls.

Lettuce: Organic Production in Virginia
Crop requirements, planting details, varieties, succession planting, pests and diseases, season extension for hot weather and cold weather, sample logbook and graph.

Onions: Organic Production in Virginia
Phases of growth, varieties, tips for success in different regions of Virginia, diseases.

Reduced Tillage and Cover Cropping Systems for Organic Vegetable Production
Organic grower’s dilemma, rationale for reduced tillage, tips for success, pitfalls, management, sod crops.

Seeders: Using Manually-operated Seeders for Precision Cover Crop Plantings
Seed plates and seeding rates, cover crops, troubleshooting, the spin seeder, beating the weeds, sources and suppliers.

SlugsA basic understanding of the biology of slugs and their method of feeding will help growers monitor and combat these garden pests.

Summer Squash and Zucchini: Organic Production in Virginia

Tomatoes: Organic Production in Virginia
Planting, temperature and moisture requirements, staking and pruning, variety selection, season extension, diseases, pest management, weed management, hoophouse culture.

Information from Other Organizations

Co-Managing Farm Stewardship with Food Safety GAPs and Conservation Practices
from Wild Farm Alliance
This handbook helps conservation planners who work with produce growers, and the growers themselves, to co-manage food safety and conservation (see Figure 1) by understanding food safety risks in the growing environment, and by learning details of how specific management practices may reduce or increase food safety risk.

Host a Better Field Day
from SARE

You’ve done some interesting work: You had a great idea, tried it on your farm and got surprising results. Now, you want to share those results with other farmers and ranchers. The only problem is, you’re busy and constantly pressed for time. Who has time to plan a field day? Thankfully, SARE’s new Farmer Field Day Toolkit is here to take off some of the pressure and get the right tools and tips into your hands.

Our free, digital Farmer Field Day Toolkit is a comprehensive resource of step-by-step instructions, timelines, and downloadable tools and templates for planning and hosting a successful event. Plus, users will learn the ins and outs of working with the media, creating press releases and PSAs, generating public interest, capturing the event with video and sharing it online.

Organic Transition: A business planner for farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs
from SARE
The Organic Transition Planner will walk you through the development of an actionable business transition plan that is suitable for yourself, your management team or a lender.

from Organic Farming Research Foundation
email registration required
A discussion of the attributes of healthy soil, the central role of organic matter, and how to monitor and enhance soil organic matter and soil health in organic production.
Soil Health and Organic Farming – Weed Management: An Ecological Approach
from Organic Farming Research Foundation
email registration required
An ecological approach to integrated weed management tools that reduce the need for soil disturbance.
from Organic Farming Research Foundation
email registration required
The impacts of tillage on soil health, including practical, soil-friendly tillage practices for organic systems.Organic Farming Research Foundation

Organic Production topic room
from SARE
Assists organic producers who are struggling to manage pests, fertility and tillage in compliance with stringent organic standards. Including a wide range of free materials developed by SARE, SARE grant recipients and experts in the field, Organic Production addresses:

●   Pest Management: Use pest life cycles and biological factors to influence pest growth and management.
●   Whole Systems: Manage your organic operation as an integrated, whole system.
●   Seeds: Grow and save your own organic seeds.
●   Fertility Management: Optimize fertility using cover crops, manure, crop rotation and organic fertilizers.
●   Certification: Understand USDA certification, agencies, regulations and cost.
●   …and more!

Food Safety Planning Down on the Farm: Examples from Ohio Certified Organic Farms
from the Ohio Department of Agriculture
The publication identifies challenges that these farms faced in developing their own food safety plans and explores what changes they made to reduce their risk.

Whether or not you are certified organic, we hope you’ll see yourself in these profiles, be able to take away new ideas, and feel less intimidated by food safety planning and costs.