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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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“Composted” Chicken Litter PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
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“Composted” chicken litter is not compost or a fertilizer. It is a toxic waste product from a horrible industrial process known as commercial chicken houses. The small and poisons create ill feelings with neighbors and it pollutes the land and water, besides the air. The only place it should be spread is on the heads of those who profit from the broiler industry, but they live in other countries.

We’ve been making compost for the 2011 crop. The ground is still a little cold for planting most vegetables, so we are holding back. There will be plenty of time for gardening.

Potatoes PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
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The potatoes are tucked into the soft ground up on the Purcell Hill. We use potatoes to build better soil. This year we planted 1700 pounds of seed potatoes.

The fields were well composted and turned last fall. The land was hard packed, it hadn’t been plowed in a generation or more. A typical ridge, the clay was yellow and the top soil thin; allowing plenty of room for improvement.

Early in the spring we rebroke it with the chisel plow, and I decided it needed more compost. Easter weekend found me spreading another 33 loads and plowing it in, finishing up by headlights.

Blueberries PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000181 EndHTML:0000005355 StartFragment:0000002364 EndFragment:0000005319 SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/computer/Desktop/obits/barefootfarmer.doc Blueberries grow well in Tennessee. There is a big patch of Hwy 231 before the bridge over the Cumberland River, and one across from the winery in Macon County. We have a small patch for our own use, but just planted another row on the farm.                                                                                                                     

A friend in Summertown invited me over to dig some plugs from an old patch near where he lives. New shoots were coming up everywhere, and in a few hours we had about 50 of them in pots. A few dozen came up bare root with long roots on them, and I am trying to make root cuttings for plants later on.    Agriculture is free. I want to learn how to propagate fruits and berries so folks donít have to pay exhorborant prices to get an orchard started. The apple and pear trees I graft cost me less than a dollar each, but it often costs $10 or $20 for a fruit tree. Iím going to figure out how to start blueberry plants, too.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Valerian PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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I plated a valerian patch yesterday. It felt good to get my hands dirty, cleaning out the chickweed and dead nettle that sprouts up in late winter. I shook the soil off of their thick root systems and loosened the bed deeply with the digging fork.

Sand and compost were then incorporated into the bed. they clay soils we have benefit with the addition of sand, it helps keep them open. Compost goes on everything around here.

A clump of valerian were gently wiggled, and yielded then individual plants. I tucked them into the flower garden about 18” apart. A little water finished the transition to their new home.


Onions PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
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When spring fever hits, onions are the first thing on my mind. They can withstand temperatures down to 20°, and need to get well established before warmer weather sets in. we eat onions often, and assume our customers do, too.

Onion varieties are classified according to the length of the day light required for them to bulb. Summer days are longer up North than they are in the South. Northern, or long day varieties, won’t bulb up as well in the south, so we grow short day varieties. There are also intermediate ones, which do well here, too.

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