Yield Expectations for Mixed Stand, Small-Scale Agriculture

Lee Turkey Farm

Wide rows on a u-pick farm provide space for people to make multiple harvests. Plant spacing affects yield.

This month in the Sustaining Farming on the Urban Fringe Briefing we determine realistic yield expectations for mixed stand, small-scale farming or market garden ventures. We discuss the importance of yield expectations as an integral business and project planning tool.

More and more, people without experience in agriculture are entering “the field” either as new farmers, community economic development sociologists, urban policy planning professionals, or individuals in search of grant opportunities. Goal setting by people new to farming must be grounded in reality.

Organic Farm Calls: Evidence-Based Agriculture and Aerated Compost Tea

Compost Tea Brewer

Compost Tea Brewer

This month we received a request for tech support on “farm-scale” Aerated Compost Tea (ACT) brewing. This request brings up the larger issue of evidence-based agriculture practices. [Read more…]

Improving Soils with Leaves and Other Local Organic Wastes

Un-composted Municipal Leaves Improve Soils

Un-composted Municipal Leaves

Farmers face conflicting soil management challenges:

  • Building soil health, by minimizing tillage and optimizing crop rotations;
  • Weed control, which requires significant tillage;
  • Cash Cropping every year for economic viability, which pressures growers to chose sub-optimal crop rotations.

Finding the proper balance between these competing tensions is difficult. [Read more…]

Using Un-composted Leaf Mulch on Trellised Lima Bean


Moisture retained under un-composted leaves.

This photo shows Rutgers’ Joe Heckman checking soil moisture retained under leaf mulch layer compared with adjacent cultivated bare ground at our lima bean field, after some recent scorching weather. [Read more…]