Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Week of May 3 2010 : Nice soil

(Here are three photos. First, the good news is we finally found our son after an extensive 2 month search. (Ed. note to County Services - he was never lost, this photo is staged.) Second, after the flail mowing. Third, after the rotary plowing. I am impressed what 2 passes with an 11hp walk behind tractor can actually do!)

The concept of two nesting boxes may actually be working. The blue birds claimed the Peterson nest box as early as February and have dutifully defended it from any and all competition. The blue birds finally built a nest in early April but have not yet laid any eggs. I am convinced this is the behavior of a goofy first time couple. Tree Swallows have claimed the NABS nest box and recently started a nest. The two nest box theory sounds great but rarely works in practice. This is the first season (out of four) when it apparently will work as advertised.

In early spring it is hard to fathom mowing down perfectly healthy plants. But such is the life of a cover crop. The winter rye reached a height of 26" while the hairy vetch used the rye as a trellis. My trusty Palladino flail mower reduced these beautiful cover crops to organic matter in mere minutes.

Then the new Berta rotary plow incorporated the residue into the soil. That did not go quite as fast. I plowed to a depth of 12" with one pass but the sun was already down for the day when I finished up 2 hours later. My pattern leaves much to be desired, as there were many dead trips across the field.

I anticipate forming the raised beds will go much faster. Then there will be a flurry of transplant activity. And presto. Instant farm!

Each spring when I start working the soil I am reminded why cover crops are worth the extra effort. THIS SOIL IS SO HEALTHY! The soil is dark and sticky. The worms love it. In the fall of 2008, the soil was tested at 4.7% organic matter!

1 comment:

  1. While I don't foresee having time to do any gardening elaborate as you guys I do enjoy reading about your gardening process! Keep up the good work!