Friday, July 13, 2012

planting fall crops

What we did yesterday was real farming.
That's what Devin said. By which I think he means the work we did was pretty intense.
I hope that's what he means, at least. Because it was.

We planted a couple fall crops - broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce - in a field Devin let lie fallow for a year or two. The very first time I came to the farm, back in March (when I was considering doing my internship there), the chickens were situated on this very spot. Tuesday the grasses and weeds were mowed down and soil was prepared with Jean's David Bradley

Devin ran the roto tiller down the field, creating a furrow. Into that furrow we sprinkled alfalfa meal and crushed mollusk shells, which are high in calcium. It gives the plants an extra boost, since they take so much calcium from the soil (hence why brassicas, the family broccoli and cauliflower are in, are so rich in calcium). Then the plants were dropped in, pre-watered, covered up, and water again. And we watered downhill, starting at the steepest point so that it naturally ran down the trench.

As the sun rose over the trees, the temperature climbed. It wasn't nearly so hot as last week - that would have been brutal. It was just in the upper eighties, I believe.

I got to run the roto tiller for the first time. It's a beast of a machine that lurches when you run over a large rock and is tricky to turn around. But I got a feel for all the levers and switches. I prepped a section of the field; I couldn't yet manage to dig a furrow (not a straight one, anyway).

We planted six very long rows.

Around nine or nine thirty, a mass of dragonflies came out. Looking up now and then, I watched them crazily buzzing about. And the blue bird came by too. Ruby was our companion in the morning; she rode in the truck with us up to the field and took to standing in the furrows Devin made.

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