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Plant & Soil Science: Diversified Farm Operations

PSS 209 Z1 (CRN: 61385)

6 Credit Hours

About PSS 209 Z1

An experiential course in sustainable, diversified vegetable production that includes soil fertility, weed, insect and disease control, crop planning and farm management skills. Prerequisites: PSS 021 and one 100-level PSS course, equivalent experience, or Instructor permission.




Dates: May 22 - August 11, 2023; Meets at the Horticulture Research & Education Center.

More Information

Section Description

In this hands-on, experiential course, students will learn principles and practices of sustainable, diversified specialty crop production on-site at the Catamount Educational Farm (Cat Farm). Topics include: vegetable crop families; soil fertility management; composting; weed, insect and disease management; propagation and planting; crop planning; irrigation systems; farm financials and business planning; marketing techniques; orchard and vineyard management; and tractor operation. The class format will consist of a combination of lectures, hands-on fieldwork, and visits to local farms. Lectures will be presented by instructors and guest speakers from UVM Extension, the Plant and Soil Science Department and local farmers. Concepts and skills taught will immediately be applied through participation in Catamount Farm's ten-acre fruit and vegetable operation that supplies produce to the community through a CSA; a farm stand; and multiple wholesale accounts.

Section Expectation

This course partners closely with the UVM Farmer Training Program (FTP), a noncredit, 6-month intensive program offered through Continuing and Distance Education. We will learn alongside FTP students both in the field and in the classroom.Students should come to class each day prepared to work outside in any weather- sun, heat, cold, rain. Cat Farm is a production farm, and we have ales commitments to make in spite of adverse weather. Please bring water, sunscreen tick repellent, and comfortable, closed-toe shoes. Bare feet are not allowed on the farm, open-toed footwear is not allowed on or near equipment or in the farm fields. Primary field work will occur in Cat Farm’s certified organic vegetable fields, and orchard and/or vineyard work will occur in plots managed under an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system. Students will have opportunities to learn characteristics of both of those and other management systems for production of food crops.


Field Practicals (20%): Applied, hands-on activities will be performed in fields to develop skills introduced in lessons. This will include seeding, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, irrigation and tractor operation. Quizzes (20%): Quizzes will be presented every other week to review the material covered in class and in the field. Five quizzes will be administered. Professionalism (10%): Students are expected to attend all classes, participate in activities, and act in a professional manner. Crop Planning Assignment (10%): Students will start to develop a crop plan for the field for vegetable crops. Farm Journal (20%): Summarize the experience of managing the PSS 209 beds this summer. Reference your farm walk journals, observations and any insights provided from guest lectures and class readings. Journals should both detail work performed throughout the season and be reflective of that effort and its application to larger farm and food production goals. Final Project, (written 10%, presentation 10%), Each student will prepare presentation on a chosen crop cultivated at Catamount Farm or other farm topic and will share with the class. A written report will be due at the end of the course.




Location In Vt Or Out Of State (View Campus Map)


to on Monday and Wednesday

Important Dates

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