Crops for Your Nebraska Hobby Farm
Whether it’s your new full-time profession or a part time passion, farming can be a fulfilling venture. There’s nothing more reward than watching your hard work pay off with a good harvest. If you’re looking to till the earth, there’s no better place than a prime piece of Nebraska ranch real estate.
Sure Nebraska is known for its cattle ranches and the huge beef industry. But maybe you’re more interested in what comes from the earth.
So what are you going to grow? Nebraska is certainly best known for corn, but it’s not a one trick pony. We’ve put together a quick guide to help you pick your first crop.
Soy is one of the leading cash crops in both Nebraska and the world. From animal feed to health food, to not-so-healthy food, soy is in everything.
The time to plant soy is spring. However, you need to wait a minimum of two weeks after the last frost before planting. Since Nebraska can get cold, that may be well into April. March has an average low of 29 degrees, so you don’t want your crop to frost over and die.
In autumn, the leaves around the mature beans are going to fall. This comes with the cold weather. The nationwide range is October to November, but expect for them to fall in the earlier half, as the Nebraskan weather turns cold. This is when you start the harvest.
Wheat is especially fun for hobby farmers. There’s nothing more rewarding than turning your crop into freshly baked bread. If you have a ton of space on your Nebraska ranch real estate, you can turn your garden into a money maker.
It’s a common misconception that you need a lot of space to grow wheat. About 1000 square feet can yield more than enough to feed a large family. Even a small farm can grow a huge crop.
Most varieties are winter crops. So you’re going to want to plant in the fall before the soil gets to hard. Make sure you cover the ground with hay to deter the birds.
The wheat will go dormant in the winter, and then really take off when the weather gets warm. Expect to harvest well in the summer.
Potatoes are another spring crop. While they may take a little bit more effort, it can be a very fun crop.
The main thing to keep in mind is soil temperatures. Potato seeds need at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit to start growing. In Nebraska, that may be a little later in the season.
Make sure you provide some frost protection. You never know when the weather will turn bad. Potatoes are a hearty crop, but too much cold can ruin your yield.
You’ll know it’s time to harvest when the vines begin to die off. Dig your potatoes up and let them cure in 45 to 60 degree temperatures before storing them in the dark at about 40 degrees.
If you’re looking into starting a farm, Nebraska is the place to start. It’s a lot more than corn territory, so you can have plenty of fun with your crops.