Some people say that I asked for it, by choosing the name I did: Mud Creek Farm. Ruth says we should just call it "Mud Farm" -- after the storms we had a week and a half ago, that's literally what it is!
Luckily, we gained access to a really dry field down the road, which we'll be planting potatoes in this year. A gorgeous sandy loam. Our strategy, besides gaining some much-needed early ground, is to be as far away as possible from the dreaded Colorado Potato Beetle. Last year this pest was so heavy on our potatoes that it threatened to completely defoliate the plants. After squishing them on our hands and knees 2 or 3 times, I finally broke down and sprayed something on them-- an organically certified spray of course. But what a hassle! I had to spray after dark, so we wouldn't harm the honeybees, and believe me, after a 13 hour day of farmwork in 90 degree heat, you don't take kindly to strapping on a 3 gallon backpack sprayer, donning gloves, safety glasses, and a respirator. It was something that made me conclude that we should grow our potatoes THIS year as FAR away from these beasts as possible.
So Betsy (one of the farm crew) and I drove around the neighborhood, scouting out fields. She grew up here, and her family knows just about everyone who owns land on this side of town.
We narrowed it down to five options, looked up the soil maps online, and determined this one would be the best. We also really liked Pam and looked forward to working with her to help make her hayfield yield a more edible (for humans) bounty. (Currently the hay is going to feed Pam's horses as well as Betsy's very large draft horse!) Pam graciously agreed to let us plow some of it up. First we took soil samples. It looks awesome.
We enlisted the help of young Nick (also a neighbor) who got a chance to plow his biggest field yet, and he did a great job! This soil is SANDY -- we might not even be able to slap the word "Mud" on these spuds. Well, while its raining maybe. Hopefully it will rain decently this year, since we have no irrigation options here. But I've never irrigated potatoes before. And two drought years in a row...? The chances we take as farmers.
After plowing, we decided to just go in and till, to break up that grass sod as well as we could, so we can plant as soon as possible.
Ruth pulled her first 12-hr day of the season, driving the Kubota back to Mud Creek with the headlights on.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the greenhouse is nearly overflowing! Tomorrow we get onions in the ground, then soon the broccoli, lettuce, kale, cabbage, swiss chard, kohlrabi, and more, go in.
Lots going on.
More seeding, more planting.
Garlic is up and growing strong.
Deep breath, it's "go time".