How Skinny Dip Farm grows winter storage crops

Ben and Hannah Wolbach of Skinny Dip Farm

Ben & Hannah Wolbach at Skinny Dip Farm

Each fall, the farmers market offerings and CSA shares from Skinny Dip Farm include cabbages, leeks, winter squashes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and a variety of root crops including potatoes ( fingerling and good storing varieties like German Butterball and Sangre), garlic, shallots, onions (six varieties), carrots and beets. Hannah and Ben Wolbach also grow less common storage crops like celeriac, fennel, parsnips, radishes, kohlrabi, Napa cabbage, turnips and popcorn.

Soil Fertility

In their workshop, the Wolbachs described their soil fertility management practices. Farm soils receive mineral supplements as recommended by soil tests. Hannah and Ben plant cover crops after harvest for winter cover and between crops to improve soil fertility and organic matter. Fields that will be planted in summer for fall harvest will have spring planted cover crop blends of either oats or barley with peas, clover and vetch. Oats and peas will cover fields destined for early spring plantings because oats are generally winterkilled in Westport, MA, making spring bed preparation easy.


Crop rotation helps to minimize pest and disease pressure. For example, all the brassica family crops grow together in a block. Next year the brassicas will be planted across the farm. [Learn more here.]


About Sanne Kure-Jensen

Sanne Kure-Jensen is a frequent contributor to Country Folks, Country Folks Grower and Wine & Grape Grower bringing regional and national attention to agriculture in RI and across southern New England. She has also written for newsletters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), Holistic Management International (HMI), RI Beekeepers Association and RI Tree Council. Read Sanne’s work at her Sustainable Living page at Sanne has written successful grant applications for alternative energy projects, staff and board training, products and services. Clients include agricultural businesses, farm stand/markets and non-profit organizations. Recent successful grant projects include a $90,000 USDA Rural Development‘s Rural Energy For America Program (REAP), $10,000 Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Farmer and $20,000 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). Sanne is the part-time Administrator for NOFA/RI, a Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist and beekeeper. She is a NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional and has lectured across southern New England on Beekeeping, Native Pollinators and Ecological Landscape Design. Learn more about the NOFA’s Land Care programs or contact Sanne for a garden consultation through the NOFA/RI website.
This entry was posted in Agriculture, Food, Produce, Recent Posts, Vegetables and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s