Thursday, June 26, 2008

A good day to plow

Well, we finally had a break in the "scattered thunderstorms" forecast, and although the sky was cloudy & misting a bit all day, there was no real precipitation today.  A good thing, because the purslane we weeded yesterday was already starting to grow back--- we raked it out away from the plants more & hopefully it dried enough to be mostly dead before we get the next storm (probably tomorrow) to rain in all those weeds again.

And we realized we needed more ground to plant into soon (and looking at our crop plan), so I hopped on the New Holland tractor & hooked up the plow.  It was a bit rusty from not being used for a few weeks!  I hoped to make it nice and shiny by the end of the day.
My first assignment-- fields "C" and "D"...  the rye/vetch had been closely mowed by Nick last week.  Now I would turn over the sod so it can decompose into the soil and provide nutrients for our fall crops.
Lessons in plowing:  Drive straight.  Make sure the sod is turning over evenly.  Avoid hitting the exposed bedrock that pops up unexpectedly in some areas.  Avoid hitting the irrigation boxes at the edge of the field.  Adjust the positions of the arms to level the two blades to the surface you're plowing.
A view looking back at the barns, one third done.
The rest of the crew (several volunteers came today) is hoeing the melon patch.  I regret that they have to listen to the drone of my diesel engine instead of a pleasant morning of birdsong.  
Next assignment:  field "Z", next to the potatoes.  Check out those potatoes!  They're starting to flower, which means they're starting to make tubers underground too.  
All plowed.
Here is an interesting row:  buckwheat (a summer cover crop) sown down the middle of the melon field.  A "harvest lane"  to provide vehicular access for bringing out the bounty of those enormous fruits!  We decided to sow buckwheat to keep down the weeds, and its flowers will attract beneficial insects & pollinators.  It comes up really fast, and grows so fast the weeds don't really have a chance, they get outcompeted.
Look at these vining watermelons!  Pretty soon it will be harder to weed in there...  I see some flowers!  I can't wait for those juicy red slices.
And a sunset over the freshly plowed field, and some rows of beans.  The humidity is 89%.  Nick pointed out how the field seemed to be steaming.  It was a long day, but I took some time to prance around with the fairies in the flower garden.

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