Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 2014 : Not Stalled Not At All!

Here is a photo of the raised beds, covered with black plastic mulch, transplanted to cantaloupes, with winter rye growing down the row middles.  Completely by accident (maybe at this point, by habit) my previous photo was from the very same spot but it looked much different.

The previous photo showed raised beds with 100% surface disturbance which translates to 100% weed emergence.  This photo proves I finally found a technique to lay the mulch, plant the cash crop and keep the cover crop.  A flail mower is used to manage the cover crop residue.  In addition to all the benefits the roots provide, when the winter rye is flailed, it thick residue will smother the soil surface.

Let's hope the cantaloupes go on to bear many fruits.  The blossoms are out but I have not seen any bees.

Although it has been over a year since my last post, it is not lack of activity that prevented me from posting, it has been another surge in activity.  Last spring, while researching farm transition plans, vacant land values, and appraisal methods, I noticed 12 acres of prime Geauga County farmland were for sale.  Not the land I had intending to buy, but a great alternative if I couldnt buy the orchard that surrounds our current house.

Thankfully we were able to negotiate a deal and now are the proud owners of historic farmland.  The land had been part of a dairy farm and crops alternated between alfalfa and corn.  More recently the land had been leased to another dairy farmer who continued a similar rotation.