4 Farm Successes I’m Thankful For In 2022

Since we can never spend too much time counting our blessings, this Thanksgiving I'm sharing a handful of farm successes I’m thankful for in 2022.

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: Daniel Johnson

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year since 2016, I’ve taken the week before Thanksgiving Day to look back on a year of farming and count a few things I’m thankful for. Early on, I made lists of tools. What farmer isn’t thankful for the tools that help them accomplish their farming goals?

But recently, I’ve focused instead on highlighting my favorite overall farming successes from the winding-down year. Since we can never spend too much time counting our blessings, I’m keeping the trend rolling for a seventh straight year, sharing a handful of the farm successes I’m thankful for in 2022.

If you feel like joining in, please tell us what farm successes you’re thankful for, too! To kick things off, I’m thankful for…

Read more: Here are 5 farm tools to be thankful for!

Tripling the Size of My Corn Crop

After successfully growing a raised garden bed full of corn in 2021, I made plans during the winter to sharply increase the size of my crop in 2022. I’m thankful to report the results were just as I’d hoped.

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I tripled my planting to three beds in 2022. And even though I fell behind on weeding one bed (and didn’t water as frequently as the year before), the corn grew well and fed my family through 11 dinners. Enjoying the sweet taste of sweet corn for so many nights was a highlight of the farming year.

Planting a Peach Tree

My farm is located in a Zone 4 pocket of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which emboldened me to try planting a Contender Peach tree this year. Northern Wisconsin isn’t exactly famous peach tree territory. But the Contender Peach is rated to survive in Zone 4, and I’m thankful for the pleasure of watching it grow vigorously since spring.

I planted my Contender Peach near the top of a hill with windbreak trees to the west and north, giving it protection from winter cold. I’ve also mulched the tree with leaves, so I’m optimistic it will survive its first winter and continue growing happily in 2023.

Building a Grape Trellis

In the back of my mind, I’ve always wanted to try growing grapes. My farm came with old grape vines planted decades earlier by a previous owner. But these largely faded away and haven’t been especially productive in the time I’ve known them.

So in 2022, I finally took the plunge and planted a trio of Somerset Seedless Grape plants. I also built them a trellis using four wooden posts (two of them salvaged) and some galvanized wire. This provides the grapes with something to climb.

They’re protected from browsing deer inside my orchard fence, and I’m thankful to anticipate delicious grape crops in the years to come.

Read more: Plan ahead and ready your supplies before building a grape trellis.

Finding a Farm Photo from 80 Years Ago

I’m something of a farm history buff, and I’ve always wondered what my farm looked like during its early days. So I’m thankful that, his year, I was shown a high-resolution aerial photo of my farm from the late 1930s, less than 20 years after its settlement.

It was fascinating to see the barn without its later additions, the massive maples trees in the yard already grown to substantial size, and the old orchard filled with more trees than I ever would have guessed. There’s so much information to be gleaned, and I’m still having fun studying the photo.

What are you thankful for this year?

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