We are pleased to invite the public to the SIFT Farm every other Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. for our annual summer workshop series. Workshops will last approximately two hours and will include an informative presentation and hands-on training. They are FREE and no registration is required. The SIFT Farm is located behind the NCAT building at 3040 Continental Drive, Butte.
July 9: Fruit for Butte
Inspired by an early article of the same name from NCAT’s fruit tree specialist, Guy Ames, the fruit bushes were planted in 2017 and 2018, and represent some modern varieties of bush cherries and honeyberries alongside a control row of Nanking cherries, which are widespread across Montana now. Haskaps or Honeyberries are a relative newcomer to Montana and highly nutritious, so it is exciting to see which of the varieties being trialed takes to the Butte climat.! At the same time, check out the native hedgerow planted around the SIFT farm in 2014 as a wind buffer and biodiversity habitat for birds and insects.
July 23: Extend Your Growing Season: High Tunnel Construction
Come learn about different designs, costs, materials, and their effectiveness as a season-extension tool for Southwest Montana. We will be discussing the EQIP program and how it can help farmers finance greenhouses. This workshop will include a hands-on demonstration of high-tunnel construction.
August 6: Creating Healthy Soil
Join us to learn about principles for regenerating healthy soil. We will discuss methods for compost, vermicompost, cover crops, and organic soil amendments that can be done on small or large scale. There will be on-farm demonstrations on water infiltration tests, moisture monitoring, and understanding soil quality.
August 20: Selecting Vegetable Varieties for Butte
Gain the skills to select and source varieties of vegetables that grow well in our unique Southwest Montana climate. Learn how to time your seeding to get more bountiful harvests within a short growing season and techniques for healthier stronger plants. We will be having a taste test of different varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more. Let us know what is your favorite!
September 10: Seed Saving: Understanding the Importance of Biodiversity
Join us to learn the basics of seed saving and the importance of biodiversity. Learn what you can save, how you can save it, and what to avoid when growing plants for seed. We will also discuss seed libraries and how you can help share seeds for common use.