January means a new year, and it also marks the beginning of the fourth year of production on the redesigned Rural Studio Farm.
With each successive year, we refine our techniques and continue to add more to the farm. In 2021, we raised our total production from 5,701 pounds to 6,352 pounds. But we didn’t just produce more, we produced smarter by growing more of what we needed and thereby reduced waste.
We also added several crops to our rotation, most notably sweet corn and sweet potatoes—both of which made it to our top ten list for the year.
Top ten crop list for 2021 (pounds)
- summer squash and zucchini 654.1
- Asian and Italian eggplant 519.2
- tomatoes and cherry tomatoes 492.9
- lettuces 485.6
- kale 415
- mustard greens 403.9
- sweet potatoes 374.8
- turnips 369.5
- sweet corn 264.2
- carrots 257.3
In 2021, we also expanded our growing space by adding new permanent raised beds in an area of campus that was previously difficult to manage.
Finally, we planted numerous fruit trees and berry bushes: blueberries, kiwiberries, Asian pears, crabapples, figs, elderberries, and mayhaw.
Looking ahead to this year, we want to further diversify the crops that we grow to increase resilience and biodiversity on the farm. We also want to continue to add more long-term crops—like fruit trees—which will have big payoffs in the future. Speaking of which, this will be the first year when we can begin to harvest asparagus, so stay tuned!