Monday, April 29, 2013

April 2013 : Twigs

Here is a photo of a raspberry plant.  Really.  I understand the theory of planting dormant, bare root nursery stock.  But Nathaniel asked why we were planting twigs.  Normally we direct sow seeds or transplant green leafy plants with a root ball so this was a fair question.  All the peat enriched soil is under the surface while the clumps are on the surface to prevent crusting.  Eventually 4 - 6" of mulch will be added.

We planted 12 raspberry plants and 6 blueberry plants.  The raspberries are the Heritage cultivar while the blueberries are Bluecrop, Patriot and Herbert culitvars.  Heritage raspberries are ever-bearing which really means they can produce two crops a summer depending on pruning techniques.  Blueberries need multiple cultivars for proper pollination and maximum fruit set.  These cultivars also ripen early, mid and late season for a steady supply.

It will take at least two years for the twigs to establish and bear fruit.  Even when these plants reach maximum bearing capacity there will never be sufficient harvest to take to market but plenty for the kids to eat.  These plants are more for learning the art of pruning on a small scale before attempting to produce on a field scale.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 2013 : Field Work

Here is a photo of the tractor and the subsoiler engaging the soil.  The subsoiler works to a depth of 24" but does not invert the soil.  In fact, when performed properly, subsoiling barely disturbs the surface. Last year's mistakes inadvertantly proved the benefit of subsoiling to me.

Of all the mistakes I made, last year's biggest mistake was making passes 60" apart when passes should be 30" apart.  In effect, half the field was subsoiled.  Remember the hot, dry summer?  The sweet corn stalks that grew over or close to the subsoiler passes were noticeably more vigorous than the stalks that grew between the passes.

Over the winter I also learned how to set up the three point hitch and adjust attachments.  The hitch has several adjustments and the most important to a subsoiler is the angle of the tip.  A properly angled tip will pull the attachment downward into the soil.

Another mistake I am willing to admit was over inflating the rear tires which reduced traction.  Proper inflation of the rear tires is only 14 PSI.  I inflated the rear tires to 36 PSI, which is the proper inflation of the front tires.

But correcting all those mistakes, this year subsoiling was performed, almost perfectly.