Boots-2-Bushels: Boot Camp for Market Gardeners and Farmers

Classes held twice monthly, January 13 – September 20, 2020
Togus VA Medical Center, 1 VA Center, Augusta, Maine

Workshop FULL – Registration Closed

fresh vegetablesLearn how to go from seed to salary with this FREE course for military veterans interested in growing and selling their own farm produce.

Participants who attend all classes and participate in the growing program will earn a Certificate of Completion and Letter of Recommendation.

Space is limited. Preference will be given to participants who are veterans or veteran family members and who can commit to the entire 30-week program (all 10 classes plus field work during the growing season).

All classes taught by UMaine Extension and MOFGA subject matter experts.

  • January 13: Soil Health
  • January 27: Crop Planning
  • February 10: Small Fruit Production
  • February 24: Vegetable Production (Leaf, Cucurbit, and Nightshades)
  • March 9: Vegetable Production (Root, Bulb, and Cole Crops)
  • March 23: Bookkeeping, Marketing
  • April 6: Seedling Production
  • April 27: Harvest and Storage
  • May 4: Integrated Pest Management
  • May 18: Tools and Equipment
  • May 25 – September 30: Field Work: Production/Sales


Print a copy of the Course Syllabus (PDF)


Through classroom instruction and hands-on learning, participants will acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities required to successfully grow produce for small-scale private or commercial fruit and vegetable production. All participants will receive classes and training on soil health, crop planning, fruit and vegetable production, integrated pest management, harvest and storage, safe food handling, marketing/branding, farm business/economics, and tool and equipment maintenance and safety. Instruction and raised-bed growing will take place at the VA Togus Campus using the existing garden bed space located in Augusta, ME. Products grown will be available for personal consumption, as
vegetable/fruit shares or provided to the Mainers-feeding-Mainers program. Participants who attend all classes and participate in the growing program will earn a Certificate of Completion and Letter of Recommendation.

Course Objectives

  • Understand and implement best practices to promote long-term productivity and efficiency of soil health.
  • Understand and implement best practices for crop planning
  • Understand and implement best practices for various vegetable & fruit variety production to include pest management and cultural practices that optimize high-quality harvests
  • Know how to develop marketing and branding strategies
  • Understand the need and use of a farm business plan
  • Learn the business skills required to run a successful farm business

Materials Required

  • Personal garden work gloves, season-appropriate clothing for outdoor field work to include head and footwear.

Required Readings

Course Schedule

Week Date Time Topic Reading Instructor
Week 1 13 Jan 9-12 Soil Health Tab A Frank Wertheim
Week 2 27 Jan 9-12 Crop Planning Tab B Mark Hutton
Week 3 10 Feb 9-12 Small Fruit Production; Safe Food Handling Tab C David Handley
Week 4 24 Feb 9-12 Vegetable Production (Leaf, Cucurbit, and Nightshade Vegetables) Tab D1 Dave Colson
Week 5 9 Mar 9-12 Vegetable Production (Root, Bulb, and Cole Crops) Tab D2 Caleb Goossen
Week 6 23 Mar 1-4 Business planning, Bookkeeping and Taxes, Marketing/Branding Tab E Tori Jackson
Week 7 6 April 9-12 Field work: Seedling Production TBD
Week 8 27 April 1-3 Harvest and Storage Tab F Brian Smith
Week 9 4 May 9-12 Integrated Pest Management Tab G Alicyn Smart, Clay Kirby
Week 10 18 May 1-4 Tools and Equipment Maintenance and Safety Jason Lilley, Matthew Wallhead
Weeks 11-30 25 May– 30 Sep TBD Raised Bed Garden Work Caragh Fitzgerald and Staff

Attendance Policy

Participants with 100% attendance to the classroom instruction and weekly participation in the growing season will receive a Certificate of Completion and Letter of Recommendation. Every effort will be made to accommodate illness, inclement weather, or any other unforeseen
situation that might preclude class attendance. Recordings and instructors will be available for make-up classes.

Field work: The field work in the raised gardens is an opportunity to apply classroom and theoretical learning into production of fruits and vegetables. You will be actively involved and responsible for your assigned raised garden beds, to include raising your fruits and vegetables for market-quality sale.

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Anne Devin at or 207.991.2651.