Oklahoma Market Gardening class

STILLWATER   In an effort to provide fresh market producers with the most up-to-date information on management, production and marketing techniques, Oklahoma State University is teaming up with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation to host the fall 2016 Oklahoma Market Gardening School.

The eight-week course begins Aug. 30 and will meet weekly through Oct. 25 on Tuesday evenings at the Tulsa County Extension Office, 4116 E. 15th St., in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Classes will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Registration is $50 per individual or $70 per couple. Couples will receive one set of handouts.

Lynn Brandenberger, OSU Cooperative Extension horticulture food crops specialist, said the school is geared toward those who are established in the business as well as those who are interested in exploring a new enterprise. Each week’s session will focus on a different area related to fruit and vegetable production, such as getting organized, soils and fertilizer management, crop establishment and irrigation, guidelines for producing fruit and vegetable crops, season extension, pest management, food safety and marketing.

“We have a great bunch of specialists from the Noble Foundation and Oklahoma State hosting this event who will share their expertise during the eight sessions,” he said.  “Whether you’re already established in your business or just starting out, we’ll be offering something for everyone.”

The class is limited to 50 participants and preregistration is required. Online registration is available. To register by mail, send the registration form from OSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture website at www.hortla.okstate.edu/, along with the payment, to Oklahoma Market Gardening School, attention: Stephanie Larimer, 358 Ag Hall, Stillwater, OK  74078-6027, or call her at 405-744-5404.

“We continue to see the public’s interest grow for locally grown fresh produce. In addition, there are a growing number of public schools around the state that want to purchase fresh produce from local producers for their lunch programs,” Brandenberger said.

Produce grown, harvested and sold in the same area has many benefits, including freshness, food safety due to a localized food production system and lower costs due to lack of transportation expenses. “You don’t have to have a large operation in order to benefit from this course,” he said. “The information we’ll provide is valuable to both small and large producers.”