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Our grower Auenhof Pabstthum and their start into the potato year

The Auenhof Pabstthum is a certified organic farm according to the EU directive and is located about 70 kilometres northwest of Berlin between forest, lakes and meadows in Ostprignitz-Ruppin. On its 22 hectares of grassland with some woodland currently live 4 to 7 people, 7 cows of the Red Mountain cattle breed (Rotes Höhenvieh), a herd of 40 Thuringian Forest goats (Thüringer Wald Ziege) and 20 Lacaune Mix sheep, 2 dogs and 3 cats.

In our farm cheese dairy, we produce different types of cheese and yoghurt from the milk of the goats and sheep depending on the season. The kids and lambs are born from the end of February. In May, we start milking and producing cheese and from December, animals and humans can prepare for the next season.

Our 4 suckler cows are trained draft cattle, so that we can completely dispense with the tractor in the 4000 square metre vegetable garden. We also train the offspring of the cows and usually manage to sell the trained young animals instead of slaughtering them.

We sell cheese, vegetables and potatoes at the weekly market in Neuruppin.

We also offer draft cattle seminars where interested parties can get a taste of working with draft cattle and try it out with our cattle.

Insights into the ongoing Potato Year at Auenhof Pabstthum

Potato Varieties Used: Laura, Linda, Sunita

Source of Seed Potatoes: The seed potatoes are sourced from an ecologically certified farm that breeds and sells seed and planting material.

Previous Experience:: Yes, these varieties have been used in the past and have grown well over the years.

Advantages of Specific Varieties: These varieties perform well in their soil and are popular with both the farm and its customers.

Field Plot: 600 square meters out of a total 4000 square meter vegetable garden are designated for potatoes.

Soil Type: Humus-rich sand.

Previous Use: Previously used for growing pumpkins and zucchini, supplemented with manure.

Climate: The average annual temperature is 9.7°C. January averages 0.9°C (coldest month), and July averages 19.2°C (warmest month). Extreme temperatures can range from -15°C at night to over 35°C during the day. According to the nearest weather station, the average annual rainfall is 572.8mm. However, the specific area is significantly drier, especially in the last five years, with extreme dryness observed.

Soil Preparation: The soil in the garden is nutrient-rich and humus due to its long-term use near a stable. Continuous improvement of soil quality is maintained through incorporating plant residues, green manure cultivation, and manure application. The garden has been developed over the past ten years.

Implements Used:

  • Initial Tilling: After harvesting previous crops, an old 4-wheeled 7-tine cultivator is used for initial tilling.

  • Ridge Formation: Instead of plowing, ridges are made to speed up decomposition of plant residues and improve soil warming. This is done using a modern single-horse "Multi-V" from Albano Moscardo (Italy) with disc coulters.

  • Secondary Tilling: After 1-3 weeks, the ridges are tilled again.

  • Planting Process: Seed potatoes are sprouted in a greenhouse. An old potato planting marker is used to mark the planting holes and rows. The seeds are planted by hand, and ridges are formed again with the "Multi-V."

Row and Plant Spacing:

  • Row spacing: 62.5 cm

  • Plant spacing: 40 cm

Power Source for Tillage Implements

Draft Animals: The farm uses cows of the Red Highland breed, a breed at risk of extinction, suitable for milk, meat, and work. These cows are robust, adapted to both extreme heat and cold winters, thrive on poor pastures, are easy to calve, and produce healthy, active calves.

Harness Equipment: Exclusively 3-pad collar harnesses, usually purchased used and refurbished.

Field Diary

Date: 2.3.2024; Weather Condition: Sunny, slightly cloudy

  • Alternated between 2 cows to till the field with the cultivator.

Date: 17.3.2024; Weather Condition: Sunny, variable weather

  • Alternated between 2 cows to form ridges.

Date: 26.3.2024; Weather Condition: Sunny

  • Alternated between 2 cows to till down the ridges.

  • Marked planting holes and rows using the planting marker.

  • Planted potatoes by hand.

  • Formed ridges again.

Date: 6.4.2024; Weather Condition: Sunny and warm

  • Planted the last 2 rows of Sunita potatoes.

  • Worked all other ridges with a harrow.

Pictures and videos of the soil preparation

Pictures and videos of planting the potatoes


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