Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Garden Prep!!

Holy crap!! Its been 10 days since my last post, that is almost unacceptable.....almost.
I do feel that I have a decent excuse however. It turns out that farm work is hard work. Well, I knew that, but the last week or so has been very busy. The weather is changing very quickly, as I am sure you have noticed yourself, and that means that we have to get the fields prepped and ready so that we can get plants in the ground as soon as the ground is ready. 
We stared a couple weeks back by seeding some plants very early so that we can try to cheat and get some early cabbage and kale before anybody else. There is some friendly competition between farmers to see who can have the earliest crops each year. Our kale and cabbage seedlings are looking very good, they have been living under the lights for a while now and are currently spending the day outside to “harden up.” This is exactly what it sounds like, they are delicate little plants that need to be slowly adjusted to the wind and the sun. We also have some onions seeded and some parsley. 
We have also started to prep the kitchen garden for planting. We spent a good amount of time last month planning out the gardens, and this week Dan and I stared laying out the boundaries for the garden and we did some plowing. Meet Grillo, our two wheel tractor: 
This thing is a beast! It can do anything a full size tractor can do, just in a scaled down version, so for out 200 foot by 75 foot kitchen garden, this thing is the way to go. Operating it, however, is hard!! If you want a killer upper body workout, come plow a field, its no joke. 
The field has been plowed and Dan and and I need to lay out the 50 by 35 foot beds for the individual crops, and then lay out the paths so we can get between them during the year for weeding, watering and harvesting. Its going to look really nice once we get it all set the way we want it..
Today we used the Grillo to dig a trench, 6 inches deep, about two feet wide and forty feet long. This is one of our asparagus trenches. We filled the bottom inch or so with some very rich manure compost and then added some rock phosphate as fertilizer. This is all preparation for the planting of asparagus crowns. The crowns are the year old roots of an asparagus plant and they look nothing like the nobly green spears we see in the spring. These crowns get planted and then allowed to grow and develop for three years before any asparagus is harvested. Their root system needs to develop and grow large and this takes time, so unfortunately I will not read the reward of this particular bit of labor. 
I will, however, be eating lots of onions, as I spent an afternoon last week prepping a 50 foot bed for two rows of onions. These are onions started from “sets” as apposed to starting from seed, and are meant as eating onions, not storing onions. The basic idea is that you plant small onions, the size of a pearl onion, let them grow three months or so, harvest and enjoy! 

As you can tell, we have been super busy! And on top of all this, we are going into the barn every hour to see if the girls have given birth yet, which could happen any moment now, so stay tuned for gratuitous piglet pictures....


  1. I love the nosy chicken in your picture. It is so wonderfully relaxed (even if hard work) to have chickens, cats and a dog walk around you while plowing. I am still unsure why you guys shake your arms off your body with a two wheel tractor plow while you have a very comfortable, fuel efficient four wheel tractor and plow at the ready.

  2. Holy crap indeed! You cannot leave your followers in soul-crunching suspension! The piglets!? The PIGLETS??? Are there any piglets? Or does it seem that my estimate of another week might have been even too ambitious, and Ruby and Garnett are simply not ready yet? I can no longer bear the pressure, the suspension, the uncertainty.....