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Barefoot Farmer

Barefoot Farmer - Jeff Poppen

The Barefoot Farmer (Jeff Poppen) uses his farm (Long Hungry Creek Farm) as an example in demonstrating good farming principles. The landscape and atmosphere of the 21st century is leaning away from a small farm economy, bucolic scenery, sustainable agriculture and homegrown meals. The health of ourselves and our environment can only be enhanced by a reliance on local small farms for our needs. To learn more about these principle join Jeff Poppen with his weekly column - Barefoot Farmer.

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Watermelons PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Everything seems to be ripening quickly this summer. Apples are weeks ahead, along with sweet corn and peppers. But, best of all, we don’t have to wait til mid-August for everyone’s favorite treat. Yes, the watermelons are in.

“No way” I said when asked if they were ripe yet. For the better, I was wrong again. I slipped my knife in deep and she cracked wide open, dripping sweet juice all over my face. We love watermelons.

Corn & Potatoes PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
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Until 500 years ago the old world relied on small grains for their sustenance. Tiny seeds that had to be threshed out of the plants to provide something they could store and eat later. Then along came two plants which were far easier to harvest because they were big: corn and potatoes.

Sowing Squash PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
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Successively sowing summer squash seeds surely secures a supply of squash and a successful season. We start in May and two months later planted the last three rows. Little ones are sprouting up as the old ones bite the dust.

Pole Bean PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
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Pole bean need to be staked. We’re growing two varieties this year, Kentucky Wonder and the Purple Variety that Ed and Margaret gave us many years ago. I like picking pole beans because I don’t like the bending over that bush beans require.

Along the garden’s deer fence is a good place to grow them. We lean sticks up against the fence and the plants quickly send up their runners. It amazes me how a climbing plant sends out tendrils and knows where to go, and how quickly they find the poles. By the time we finish staking the row, the first plants are already wrapping around the stakes.

We use two kinds of stakes. Eight foot long poles that are an inch by an inch are all the beans need to grow on. A local sawmill cut them for us, out of ash lumber. Poplar or soft maple won’t last as long as ash or oak.

Summertime in Tennessee PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
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Summertime in Tennessee brings forth the favorite fruits of the earth. Tomatoes and swee corn quickly follow on the heels of beans, squash and cucumbers, and the melons are swelling. So what am I doing out in the garden with lettuce and cabbage seed?

We are planting the fall garden, now, during the middle of the summer harvesting. the tiny seedlings will be ready to transplant in mid-August, to make their heads in September, October and November. To harvest then, we plant now.

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