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ACM course promotes democratic process

From Staff Reports Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Two Garrett County farmers who use heated high tunnels without burning fossil fuels will demonstrate their projects Saturday.

The demonstrations will begin at the Allen Lilly farm at 2207 King Wildesen Road at 10 a.m. Lunch will be provided at Harry Swartz’s farm at 4965 Gorman Road and the program will continue there at 1 p.m.

Allen and Kathy Lilly, owners of Ryan’s Glade Farm and Garden, have been producing fruits and vegetables for sale at the Mountain Fresh Farmers Market in Oakland for more than 10 years. They built their first high tunnel in 2006. In 2009, they received funding for their project titled Economical Climate Controls for Maximum Production in High Tunnel Vertical Growing Systems. It combines the use of wind power, high tunnels and vertical growing systems to produce strawberries from May through November.

Swartz retired from the University of Maryland after many years as a successful strawberry and raspberry plant breeder. In 2009, he partnered with University of Maryland Extension to construct a greenhouse that would use as little fossil fuel as possible.

The greenhouse was constructed with energy-efficient materials such as insulated concrete forms, twin poly carbonate and an insulated north wall. Solar water heating panels, typically used to heat swimming pools, were installed to heat water in a 1,000-gallon water tank attached to the greenhouse. The hot water is then circulated throughout the greenhouse using radiators as heat exchangers.

The entire system is controlled through computer monitoring connected to the Internet and records information live on the web. View a layout of the system and current conditions and charts at http://www.welserver.com/WEL0004/. The project is testing the feasibility of using solar water heating to possibly heat larger greenhouses or high tunnels.

These two systems will be demonstrated Saturday along with discussions with the farmers and University of Maryland Extension personnel on how the systems work. Call the Garrett County Extension Office at 301-334-6960 to register for the program.

More here.

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