Wednesday, June 25, 2008


This morning we rototilled, marked, and planted 6 beds in fields E and F.  These included transplanted lettuce, scallions, and parsley, and direct-seeded carrots, beans, herbs, summer squash, and cucumbers!  It felt pretty good to place that first cucumber seed into the soil of the new field "F" that I had plowed up from sod just over a month ago.  

After hooking up drip irrigation to the transplanted rows & covering up the cucumbers & squash with Reemay, we ventured over to field A which has been covered up since it was planted about 2 weeks ago.  There has been a lot of rain and sun in those two weeks.  So we were prepared for what we saw... a WEEDSPLOSION!
Most of the weeds are Purslane, a succulent kind of plant that grows really well here apparently.  I personally like to eat it-- it has lots of vitamin C, A, and even Omega-3 fatty acids!  I like it better than lettuce, it's crunchy, tangy & delicious mixed with other veggies (like my salad today of boiled beets, raw kohlrabi, purslane, mint, orange juice, & apple cider vinegar)  And it grows without you having to plant it.  

But I also enjoy winter squash.  So in order to have winter squash we must "away" with the purslane.  And there are a million purslanes here to "away" with.
Farmer Dave said that if we had put off cultivating this field for just a few more days, it would have been an absolute nightmare.  Thankfully the weather cooperated & we got our nice sunny day to weed.  Not even threatening storm clouds today!
We hooked up the "sweeps" underneath the Cub tractor (sweeps are basically shovel-type blades that scrape through the soil unearthing all those little weeds), and polished them up with a grinder & steel wool, and then waxed them up.  
This would prevent soil from sticking to the sweeps and clogging up the beds or covering the plants.  Sharp blades make for easier work I am learning over and over.And here's the sweeps in action, taking out 90 percent of those pesky purslanes:
Dave makes two passes on each bed, leaving only a thin row of weeds directly around the squash plants.  
Then there is nothing to do but get on our hands & knees again & scrape those weeds out with our fingers.  This field seems huge, and the sun is beating down on us.  Like the day Nick & I planted these squash.  I try to picture that cool autumn morning when I will be lifting heavy orange pumpkins from this field... winter squash, born out of such a summer heat.

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