Looking Back at Year One

May 2007

Knopp Branch Farm is well underway in our second year of crop production.

Last year, our “year of discovery” was a real eye opener. We are making headway changing hard scrabble into healthy soil. Our original row fields and vegetable beds are developing well. We’ve hauled in the equivalent of three 18-wheeler loads of leaves, four 18-wheeler loads of mushroom compost, and spread our own compost from the first set of bins we built last spring. Our soil is certainly getting better, but still doesn’t contain a quantity of worms. I surprised visiting friends by dancing a jig when we dug the last of the garlic and discovered two earthworms. That’s two worms in a little over two acres under crop production, and two worms more than last year. Bearing in mind that one of the criteria for determining optimal soil health has a worm population of 25 per square foot – we definitely have room for improvement.

Last year we learned how not to trellis green beans, where not to plant sweet potatoes and how not to stake tomatoes and eggplants. And, we learned how itchy it can be when okra are planted too close together.

We also found that established wisdom is not always correct. Yes, our “can only be grown in a cool climate” asparagus and potato crops are flourishing.

More importantly, we have learned how much we have to learn. Last year, we didn’t have a clue about how much we didn’t know.

This year, the four different varieties of potatoes are coming in by the bushel. Properly staked heirloom tomatoes have an awesome amount of fruit on the vine, and liberal amounts of compost are allowing the squash and zucchini to flourish. This year we will be canvassing market goers for more ways to cook what looks to be a super abundant crop of five different kinds of eggplants.

Farming is incredibly hard work. A manicure doesn’t last for more than ten minutes of serious weeding. We have learned this year that there is no dignity in going out to pasture with a wheelbarrow and shoveling up fresh cow poop for the compost pile. But we have come to believe our hard scrabble farm is a pretty noble enterprise.Павелко искусственные полялеска carp expertgoogle adwords регистрация

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