Monday, March 28, 2016

Marching forward!

 March is very unpredictable in this climate.
One day it is 70 degrees, the next day it is snowing.
We've had a lovely warm spring so far, but this week has been a bit stormy!
It makes planning kind of difficult...
However, things are moving forward quickly at Wild Hill Farm.
 We've tested the soils, decided on our veggie field location, and ordered our organic fertilizer and amendments based on the soil test results.

The last person to farm this land planted corn on some steep hillsides, and last spring's stormy weather resulted in some major erosion.  Check out this gully!  They wised up and planted alfalfa which holds the soil in place for many years, unlike corn, which leaves soil bare to wash away.

 Fortunately, this erosion ended up just depositing silt and nutrients right into the flat field which we'll be growing vegetables in!  Most erosion, however, results in precious topsoil being washed into a stream which washes into a river which washes into a lake or the ocean, and by that time it's lost to us as the valuable food-growing substance that it is.

This farmer was definitely doing some of the right things, though.  Below is a picture of the soil where you can vaguely make out little clumps of straw.  It might not look too fascinating, but it is!

Under each little mound of straw there is an earthworm hole!  The worms come out to the surface at night, and pull these little sticks and pieces of dead grass down into their holes, where they eat them and turn them into amazing compost!  The sticks on top of their holes were just too big to fit down their holes.  It's fascinating to me!
 I'm also on the hunt for a few key pieces of equipment that will allow me to work the soil, and plant what I want easily in it, preventing the weeds from taking over.
A friend is making a rolling marker that we'll pull behind our rotary tiller -- it marks a grid on our beds which we can transplant or direct seed into!  I hope that we'll be using this within the next 2 weeks to plant peas, carrots, beets, etc.  It's very important to get the rows straight, because we use an antique cultivating tractor to weed with, and anything that doesn't get planted in the line gets wiped out!  Brutal, I know.  But very effective.
 The greenhouse is starting to fill up with
trays of transplants.
And things are starting to sprout!

We were out pruning blueberries one sunny day, when a cold wind blew in something fierce, and suddenly we were in a snow squall!   Almost done getting the blueberries ready.  It will be nice to have these taken care of in the next few weeks and just anticipate the harvest in July!

Onward we march... 

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