Hard at It

Didn’t manage getting anything planted on St. Pat’s, but more than made up for it yesterday.  I was out on the farm working beds on Tuesday, when my neighbor drove by and shouted out, “Want some manure?”  Well, nothing can make me throw down my cultivator and get in my truck faster than those sweet words.

Unfortunately, my understanding of where she wanted my truck wasn’t correct, and I ended up getting mired in the mud.  It was one of those, Oh, I’ll just back down in here and…Oh.  Oh no.  So, before Kathy was able to get the tractor down in the paddock, she had to use said tractor to pull me out.  Oops.

Anyhow, we got three tractor scoops in the back of the truck before I trundled back down the road, bouncing on my axles from the weight of all that brown gold.  But when you get a truckload of manure at 4 in the afternoon, you’re pretty much committed to unloading the thing before heading back into town.

Top-dressed a number of beds, then shoveled the rest out into a pile by the shed before heading in to clean up for the VAAC St. Pat’s festivities.  Luckily, there was still some food left.  It was good seeing everyone after the long winter, but I’m afraid I wasn’t the best conversationalist, tired as I was.

Yesterday, I packed up my gear (laptop, seed bag, etc.) and headed out to the farm early for a day of task-switching between classes and garden work.  Got some black Spanish and French breakfast radishes in, more peas, more spinach, and some Peruvian purple potatoes in the ground, and got everything watered.  H had turned the water on the night before, but then I hadn’t brought my extra hose and watering wand.

Some parts of the gardens are still very wet and mucky, while others are lovely, dry, and crumbly.  It’s amazing the difference in consistency of the soil between those parts that were well-manured last year and those that were not.  The west garden beds are a crumbly, humus-rich consistency, while the north central garden is a clay quagmire.  So, that tells you where I’ll be focusing my manuring efforts.

Just about the time I was thinking I wasn’t going to accomplish my last self-appointed task of the day, my garden partner Kelly showed up, rarin’ to go.

We worked manure into the northern-most bed in that north-central garden (basil and okra last year), pulled some posts that supported the hog panel trellis I had cukes on last year in the east garden, drove the five posts on the north side of the bed, put up and tied to the posts two sections of combination cattle panels, and planted the row to sugar snap peas, then mulched with a light layer of straw we had to pull hunks off of because most of the bale is still frozen to the ground.

I was really glad Kelly got there when she did because I’d put too many peas in to soak in the innoculant, and after planting a couple other trellises already erected in the west garden, I had a lot of seed left over.  Since they’d been sitting in water and innoculant much of the day, they really had to get in the ground, and thanks to Kelly’s energy and enthusiasm, they did.

The seed that had been soaking much of the day had sucked up a lot of the water in the container, so I hope they’ll be alright in that chilly soil.  Most of the trellis was seeded with those soaked peas, but we seeded one section with a few more that just got dipped in the innoculant before seeding.  I set up a couple stakes to indicate the non-soaked part of the row, and we’ll see if there’s a difference in germination and growth between the two.

Today I’m a little tired and sore, and have a lot of class work and errands to run in town.  It’s pretty chilly this morning anyhow, so I’ll wait to head out until this afternoon some time.  While the high temperatures aren’t going to be as high these next few days, the lows are all above freezing, so it looks like we’re getting some sort of actual spring-like temperate weather for once.

I’m going to be going through my seed stash for the next round of direct-seeded crops–rain is projected this weekend, so I’d like to get as much in the ground as I can.  I doubt I’ll get much of this stuff in before then, as I still need to do one more trellis of peas and another, bigger bed of spinach, but it’s good to have the seed with me just in case.

Next to go in the seed bag: arugula, carrots, beets, turnips, broccoli raab, cilantro, salad mix and lettuce.  I’ll try to remember to bring the camera out today, so I can post some images!


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