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The "Solawi Große Erde", their community-supported agriculture and their start into the Potato Year

The Solawi ("Solidarische Landwirtschaft" meaning "community-supported agriculture") Große Erde, Vorderpfalz is supported by over 160 households, who together enable small-scale and diverse agriculture without pesticides and mineral fertilisers. The gardeners responsible are Ruben Blickensdörfer, Timm Blickensdörfer, Michael Woinzeck, Marie-Luise and Willi Blickensdörfer.

Every week, they distribute 100 harvest shares via the Solawi, providing over 400 people directly with vegetables, cereals and home-baked bread. Since spring 2022, we have also been adding eggs from our own chickens, which roam our fields in their chicken mobile.

Aerial view of the Solawi Große Erde farmland.

Insights into the ongoing Potato Year at Solawi Große Erde

Potato Varieties Used: Early Potatoes: Annabelle, Rosara; Storage Potatoes: Rumba, Jelly, Agria, Laura

Source of Seed Potatoes: Organic planting material from Pflanzkartoffel-Spezialhaus Meyer GmbH. For storage potatoes, part of each variety is from their own reproduction.

Previous Experience: Yes, Agria was used last year, and the other varieties have been used for five years.

Advantages of Specific Varieties: They are suitable for organic farming, have a good taste and are a mix of waxy and mealy varieties. The also have a good storability.

Field Plot Information: Size: Approximately 0.5 hectares

Location: 67105 Schifferstadt, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Winter Hardiness Zone: 8a

Soil Type: loamy sand

Previous Use of the Plot: Winter rye was planted last year. This was followed by cover crops on the ridges until spring preparation.

Climate: Average Annual Temperature: 10°C

Average Annual Precipitation: 500 mm

Vegetation Days: Over 300 days (average daily temperature above 5°C)

Sunshine Hours: Over 2000 hours

Soil with cover crop before the first soil preparation.

Soil Preparation: This year, all tasks in potato cultivation were performed with the new ridge device from Turiel. This device can be used for all crops, such as grains and vegetables, on ridges. Their multi-frame is made for ridges of 75 cm and a working width of 1.5 to 2.25 m, and can be equipped with various tools for all necessary operations.

Over the winter, a thin cover crop with weeds was left on ridges. When dry enough, aged horse manure was spread (20 t/ha) and incorporated using the Turiel multi-frame, which splits and flattens the ridges.

The multi-frame was then set up to loosen the soil diagonally, uproot weeds, and leave them on the surface. After equipping the ridge device with hilling tools, 75 cm ridges were formed, two per pass.

For planting, the Turiel ridge device was modified with a bench, a box holder, a planting tube, and a timer. Potatoes were dropped individually into the planting tube and covered with soil by paddles. They were planted 33 cm apart and 6 cm deep under a lightly hilled ridge.

Power Source for Tillage Implements: Tractor: IHC 733A, built in 1976, 60 HP, 4-wheel drive, weighing around 2.7 tons, equipped with narrow wheels for a track width of 1.5 m.

Additional Information: More information on Turiel ridge culture can be found at

Field Diary

Date: 27.02.24

  • Placed seed potatoes in sprouting crates

Date: 26. and 27.03.24; Weather Condition: Cloudy

  • Spread and incorporated manure (20 t/ha)

Date: 8.04.24; Weather Condition: Sunny 

  • Loosened field diagonally (~20 cm deep) and formed ridges

Date: 9.04.24; Weather Condition: Sunny

  • Panted early potatoes (spacing: 33 cm, depth: 6 cm)

Date: 15.04.24; Weather Condition: Windy

  • Planted storage potatoes (spacing: 33 cm, depth: 6 cm).

Photo and video diary

Spreading manure.

Incorporating manure.

Fields loosened diagonally.

Creating ridges.

Planting potatoes.

Planting storage potatoes.


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