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Re-mineralizing on NPT's Volunteer Gardener


For optimum yields, a farmer has to replenish the minerals in production fields.

Monoculture on NPT's Volunteer Gardener


Diversity in an ecosystem such as a farm is a sign of health. Fields of only one crop create many problems, but there are positive and negative aspects to everything. That is defiitely true in farming. Jeff Poppen grows a wide variety of crops, but also identifies good reasons to fill a field with just one. We explore the benefits and detriments of monoculture.

Squash Woes on NPT's Volunteer Gardener

Squash Woes

To avoid problems with growing squash, Jeff Poppen employs the principles of farming developed long ago. This includes an emphasis on soil drainage, and the liberal use of compost.

Planning a Late Summer Garden on NPT's Volunteer Gardener

Planning a Late Summer Garden

Biodynamic farmer Jeff Poppen underscores the importance of planning when it comes to a late summer garden. He plants beans, squash and cucumbers in June and July to harvest in September and October.

Fall vegetable garden pointers on NPT's Volunteer Gardener

Fall vegetable garden pointers

Fall vegetable gardens require planning, especially if those plants are to be grown from seed. Calculating the days to maturity allows one to start seeds at the proper time. Host Annette Shrader visits an experienced grower to see how the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and peas are performing mid-autumn.

Green Manure: Plants and Benefits on NPT's Volunteer Gardener

Green Manure: Plants and Benefits

Biodynamic farmer Jeff Poppen walks us through one of his large production fields in early spring that's covered in green manure crops. He shares information about the plants used, and how each one benefits the soil health.

Soil Your Undies: How healthy is your soil? on NPT's Volunteer Gardener

Soil Your Undies: How healthy is your soil?

A campaign was launched in December 2018 by Oregon farmers working with Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The Soil Your Undies Challenge was now a thing. It's a simple way to measure the microbial activity in the soil. Julie Berbiglia visits the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville to see the results from their participation in the challenge.

Organic Farming: Good Start = Good Result on NPT's Volunteer Gardener

Organic Farming: Good Start = Good Result

Jeff Poppen has been farming the organic way for decades. He shares his wisdom for those who are just becoming farmers. He covers a lot of the basics: plan before you plant, when to plow and when to plant, successive planting, tending a healthy compost pile, smart use of cover crops, the importance of lime, and keeping the critters away.

Sustainable agriculture method for a container on NPT's Volunteer Gardener

Sustainable agriculture method for a container

A well-read and experienced gardener demonstrates how he recreates lasagna gardening (layering of organic materials in which to grow plants) in outdoor plant containers. He then starts seeds and also grows a variety of vegetables in these containers with great results.

Increasing Soil Fertility on NPT's Volunteer Gardener

Increasing Soil Fertility

Jeff Poppen discusses simple and frugal ways to add soil fertility to a garden space. Using compost and cover crops bring rewards at harvest time year after year.

Clean Genes Farm on NPT's Volunteer Gardener

Clean Genes Farm

Clean Genes Farm specializes in growing salad greens 365 days a year. And here on this family farm, efficiency is a must. Annette Shrader sees that first-hand in the seeding, the transplanting, and weed control.

Freia Farm: Small Intensive Agriculture Farm on NPT's Volunteer Gardener

Freia Farm: Small Intensive Agriculture Farm

An enthusiastic pair of young farmers focus on building the soil, knowing it will pay off year after year. There's is a no till farm. Their market garden business practice wants to be very accessible and affordable. They have chosen a more flexible business model than a traditional member-based, weekly delivery CSA.