Allenbrooke Farms | Volunteer Gardener

Allenbrooke Farms | Volunteer Gardener

July 29, 2019 3 By Kailee Schamberger



We're in Spring Hill today at the beautiful
Allenbrooke Farms. I think quite possibly this
is the most picturesque farm that I've ever visited. Not only are they
doing vegetables, they also are branching out
into flowers and other things. Dan's enthusiasm and passion for what he does is
simply infectious. I'm here with Dan in one of
his beautiful farm fields. I have to note first the soil. How do you get it looking
so rich and beautiful? – We are very heavy
with cover crop, so that's a big part
of my rotations is I do cover crops for a year on every garden before we
plant a cash crop in it, and then we fallow it
out to get weeds out and cover crop it again. This is some Minuet
Napa cabbage over there. I like that variety 'cause
it's a little bit smaller, so you don't end up with
these giant, huge heads that maybe one or two person
can't eat by themself. – [Sheri] Yeah, and we must
say that you are a CSA as well, so you are farming for
a lot of people, so. – [Dan] Yes, ma'am, and it's
good when the vegetables fit in the baskets,
and sometimes those big Napa cabbages tend not to. – [Sheri] And so in
front of me right here? – [Dan] This is some Toscano
kale or dinosaur kale or lacinato kale, has a
lot of different names. It's just your standard,
big, green kale. It's good for juicing
and that sort of thing. – [Sheri] And right
here in front of me? – Red Russian, and
this is my favorite. It's a little bit sweeter. It's good in salads and raw. I love this one. This is curly green kale. This variety is
called dark boar. Really prolific plant. Makes really nice,
curly, green leaves. Just a great all-around kale. Everybody likes the
green curly stuff. I typically, for my CSA,
will harvest the day before, seeing as how we
just have one a week, and that's on Wednesdays,
and they're all day long. Sometimes I'll do just a
little bit the day before so I've got enough for the
first people that come through, and then we'll harvest fresh
that day for everybody else. – I notice there's no critter
bite marks on anything. What do you do for pests? – [Dan] My pest management
is a little bit different than everybody else's, I guess. (laughing) I typically don't spray
any pesticides out here, so with the fields of cover crop and trap crops I plant
around, a lot of– – [Sheri] What is a trap? – Well, a trap crop is,
I'll let the collard greens and the kales from
the fall go to flower. A little bit left
right over here. – Is that the yellow flowers
we're starting to see there? – Yes, ma'am, yes, ma'am. They've actually, a lot
of the plants have made seed pods now, so it's
almost time to get rid of it, but I'm trying to let it
have every last second it can because I'm scared when I mow
it down it's gonna come here. And as well as the cover
crops, like buckwheat, they'll like to go
there instead of here, and that really boosts up the
predatory insect population. I feel like if you're
spraying, you're killing them, and you're killing
their food source. So the more they have to
eat, the better they do. And then there's always
the one-third rule of planting extra for the
bugs (laughing), just in case. – [Sheri] Dan, what else do
have growing in this field here? – [Dan] Well, I have
some late potatoes, some mid-season potatoes, the
three kales, Napa cabbage, Savoy cabbage, broccoli,
some early Cone cabbage, some cauliflower, storage
cabbage, collard greens, Swiss chard, looks like
some romaine lettuce, and a little bit of
kohlrabi down there. – [Sheri] I know this
is a family farm. – [Dan] Yes, ma'am. – [Sheri] It was
your family's farm, and how long have you
actually been thrown all the way into this, farming? – This is, I believe, my
eighth season full time, so eight-and-a-half years
I've been farming full time as my primary job.
– And you're still smiling. – Yeah, it's fun (laughing). I like it. It's kind of like getting
to paint a new picture on a really cool
canvas every year. I'm also starting
flower operations. We have a wedding barn here, so I'm doing some
flower experiments, and I've got a half acre
dedicated to that, and– – [Sheri] Will you
take those to market, or is it gonna be a you-pick? – This year, really I want
them just for the pretty. If they're pickable, I'm
sure they'll use some at the weddings, and
my wife will figure out something pretty
to do with them, but otherwise, it's
really just a backdrop for the wedding photos. – So, Dan, we're in
almost the middle of May. I'm really interested in your
carrots in the bushel baskets. Tell me about that. – Well, it's just
a little experiment I thought I'd do this
year for the CSA. I thought it'd be
neat if the kids at the CSA could harvest
their own carrots. So it's just kind of an
experiment I'm doing, and it's turned out pretty good. – [Sheri] And they're deep
enough so they can get a nice, nice, straight
growth it looks like. – [Dan] Yeah, they're getting
a nice, straight growth 'cause they're not hitting
any rocks or anything, so they should come out
looking pretty nice, and I think the kids
will really enjoy it. – Yeah. Let's walk up here and see
what else you have going on. I see tomatoes. Let's talk about
these tomatoes here. – Let's see what kind we got. So this is a Lebanese tomato. That first year of farming,
my dad had a whole bunch of old seeds that
he'd been saving, he was always a
tomato seed-saver guy, that we found in
his deep freeze. And this was one of them
that I really liked, and I've grown it every year. It's really heat-tolerant,
and it makes a nice little, kinda like plum salad tomato, but with a thin, pink Brandywine
kinda skin on it, it's– – So you're saving seeds
every year as well? – I save seeds every
year off of basically every heirloom tomato I grow,
because they seem to have more vigor as
generations go through and be able to be more
disease-resistant. Really nice little tomatoes. These are ready to
go in the field. – [Sheri] And so,
when you plant them, do you plant them really
deep like you're supposed to, or I've heard
you're supposed to? – Actually, I don't. We use a waterwheel
transplanter, and
we just shove them in the ground, and
then, as we cultivate, if it's needed, sometimes
we'll throw soil onto it to give it a little
more support. But they tend to
do fine just like– – How long typically do you
think that you harden things off before they go in the field? – Well, it depends
on the weather. A lot of times we like to put
everything out on cloudy days or right before if we
know we're gonna have a couple days of rain. So we can put them
out on those days, and by the time the sun
hits a couple days later, they're good to go. If we have to bring them
out when it's really hot and bright and sunny,
then we'll cover them and only give them a
few hours of daylight the first couple days, and
we gradually back it off until they can take the
full sun without burning. – Dan, I'm impressed. You're never bored
here, obviously, because you go from vegetables
to flowers to strawberries, and now you are doing what? – Well, we are doing
industrial hemp this year for CBD production. – And you were telling
me a little while ago that you started this
from seed 17 days ago? – 17 days ago, yeah. They're pretty vigorous growth. They're a feminized seed,
certified feminized seed. Looks like they've already,
I mean, seven, eight inches, and a good root ball
already in just a– – [Sheri] So from this
point, how long will it take before you set them
out in the field? – [Dan] I'm hoping to
get these hardened off and out in the field
in about two weeks for a little bit of early
crop, to try get maybe the little bit extra
vegetative growth before they start to
flower this season. And then I have some
more starting for later. – And you were talking
about how you like to do the seeds and not cloning. – Well, I've chosen to do a
mainly feminized seed this year. There's been lots of good
innovations in the seed over the past couple years,
especially out of Colorado, so I'm doing a bunch from them. Apparently, the clones
don't really have taproots, and that's something that
I really want to have in our heavy soils to go
down and catch the water. Yeah, so it looks
like they're saying that one out of every
4,000 will be a male, so we might have 1.25
males in this whole batch. – Wow, and so do
you need the males? – On CBD production, you
want the males to go away. – Okay, okay. I'm not familiar with
that, so I was confused. – You want only female
plants so that they can make a flower rich with
CBD oil for medicine. – Okay. Thank you for sharing
with our viewers your wide array
(upbeat music) of your interests and
your farming techniques. – Well, thank y'all
for coming out, and come back anytime you want. – Thanks. – [Announcer] For inspiring
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