Farm Maintenance

Student watering plants in the greenhouse

To efficiently carry out all the activities on the Farm, structures, grounds and equipment must be properly maintained. Proper cleaning techniques are used in all buildings to ensure they are safe and well kept. In greenhouses, weeds are kept to a minimum. The glass greenhouse is cleaned as much as possible to improve the quality of light available to plants and prolong the life of the structure. The newest greenhouse on the property and the eight high tunnels are covered with plastic which must be inspected regularly for damage. Plastic on the high tunnels is changed about every five years. Over time, the wooden frame parts on the tunnels degrade and must be replaced. With grant funding, updates to the high tunnels have been planned. These include new end walls, new irrigation systems, and new automatic ventilation systems using solar power.

The appearance and function of the grounds are maintained throughout the year by keeping the grass mowed, weeds trimmed, and clutter to a minimum. Students learn to use a zero-turn mower, weed eaters, and chainsaws to perform maintenance tasks. Upkeep of equipment is also essential. This includes tractors, vehicles, mowers, chainsaws, and weed eaters. Some students working on the farm have prior training to perform maintenance and basic repairs while others are trained to fill this role. Cleaning and repairs on hand tools are completed regularly to prolong their usefulness.

Such basic maintenance offers many and varied opportunities for learning. This can also appeal to diverse interests. Because the Horticulture Farm is located so close to the center of campus, we make a conscientious effort to keep the area neat and orderly. We strive to make it interesting for the students, staff, faculty, community members, and others who visit.