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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.

To e-Mail Jeff - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Plowing and Harrowing PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
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Plowing and harrowing leaves the soil fully pulverized, soft and fluffy. Even after a rainstorm the tilthe will remain loose and mellow. If it gets hard, the organic matter is too low and there is nothing to fluff up. If the percentage of organic matter is high (4 to %%), a lack of biological activity is indicated.

Harrow PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
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A harrow is the implement we use after plowing to break up clods, level the field and prepare a seedbed. There are several different kinds of harrows. Which one to use depends on the soil type, and the specific goal to be accomplished, and what you have.

Farmers Gamble PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
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Farmers gamble. I’ve known that one day the Long hungry would rise up into our lower garden. For 14 years we have been blessed. No, I wasn’t surprised, or even sad, when four feet of water rushed over the carrots and peas.

It was beautiful, with class three rapids, waves jumping several feet, and the powerful roar. It was simply awesome. The cave filled up to the second shelves, and I thought of all the times the floor was full of lettuce, cucumbers and green beans.

We feel grateful and lucky. No one was hurt, and it is only the beginning of May. In another week I would have had another acre planted that would have been destroyed. All of my seeds are safe and dry in the cabin.

Nature’s Mysteries PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000181 EndHTML:0000004203 StartFragment:0000002615 EndFragment:0000004167 SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/computer/Desktop/obits/barefootfarmer.doc Plowing is one of nature’s mysteries. I plow to fluff up the soil in the springs, but plowing destroys soil structure. This irony is hard to explain but easy to experience. I’ll try to explain my experience. Over the winter the ground gets packed down. A cover crop of crimson clover and turnips, or rye and watch, or wheat and peas, helps to alleviate the affect of heavy rainfall. But it needs to be turned under so we can plant garden crops. The root growth of the cover crop is what actually builds soil structure, not the plowing it in. a grass and clover sad is the best cover crop, and is best plowed in the fall with a moldboard plow. The mystery is moderation. Like many things in life, tillage is necessary but too much is detrimental. I want to pulverize the soil just to the extent that what’s growing there dies and decays, but still leaves the soil structure, created by the cover crop roots, intact. I started farming with my dad’s equipment, a plow and a disc. After plowing I disced the field. It still had clods. So I disced again and it looked a little better. Another few passes with the disc and the ground was powder. I thought this was good soil structure. Then it rained. The clay powder and water formed a big brick the size of my garden. I was starting to learn something. I’d seen the same phenomenon after rototilling; a fine seed bed turned into cement after a hard rain. An old timer gave me the clue.
Spring Garden PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
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April is the month of planting the spring garden. Onions go in first, and then potatoes. These are the two crops that the king’s deer don’t eat, so we don’t have to plant them inside the deer fence. All other vegetables and fruits can be destroyed if unprotected.

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