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Hygieia Homestead

Hygieia Homestead

Hygieia Homestead was established in July of 2006 and is a 55 acre property that is currently operated as a certified organic and certified veganic market vegetable farm. The 55 acre property includes 45 tillable acres of sandy to clay-loam soils that are seomwhat well drained, have a pH of 6.8-7.3 and 2.4% organic matter. Currently 10 of those tillable acres are planted in market vegetables and the remaining 35 are used for hay.

Mark and Janet are ready to start the process of transitioning their farm into the future. They are looking for a farmer to join them on the farm so they can begin passing their knowledge, experiences and eventually farm business and homestead on to the next generation. Terms are negotiable, but the perfect fit would be someone who is passionate about organic and veganic farming and wants to gain immersive experience growing and living on this farm before eventually taking over the operation when Mark and Janet are ready to retire. Mark and Janet have a lot of knowledge to offer, and are passionate about the way food is grown, so below is some information they'd like to offer on their current growing practices:

What do you use in the fields for building soil and fertility? 
We mulch many of our beds with our own hay. Others get some combination of sawdust from the local sawmill, ramial wood chips dumped here free from tree trimming service last summer, and leaves from our woods to increase organic matter.  Summer fallow is utilized within the rotation, where we generally allow weeds to grow, then mow and till-in.

What does your plant-based compost consist of? 
Pulled weeds, garden waste, house scraps, comfrey, mulched leaves, sawdust/wood chips, and wood ashes from our wood stove.

How do you prepare the beds for planting? 
Mow down the weeds, then rototill 2-3 passes to create nice seedbed

Please list all the crops you sell:
Green and red cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, romaine lettuce,onions, musk melons, sweet and hot peppers, winter squashes, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic

What is your seed starting medium mix?
Compost, sandy garden soil, vermiculite/perlite

Do you rotate your cultures? 
 We are on a 5 year rotation schedule for the larger (2 acre) fields, and a 4 year rotation on the mixed vegetable area (1.5 acres)

How do you control native flora in the farm system? 
I hand pull mostly.  There is limited rototilling and some cultivating with tractor-mounted sweeps.  Canada thistle is an issue dealt with by a combination of mowing, pulling, hoeing.

How do you control problematic insects and mammals?
Squash bugs are either hand-picked as they appear, or we sometimes use a hydrogen peroxide spray if they get out of hand. Potato beetles are hand-picked 2-3 times per season.
Horn worms and voles are not problematic.

How do you deal with bacterial, fungal, nutrient deficiency issues?
Have not been significant issues

Do you sell leaf lettuce, mustard mixes, microgreens? 
We do sell romaine heads, rinsing before putting in plastic bags for sale.

What are your yearly gross sales? 
$17,000 in 2022, and will be in that neighborhood or a bit lower this year since we’re cutting back.

How do you leave your fields at the end of the season?
Some beds get mulched late fall, others that are harvested are allowed to regrow for protection.