Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Just tillin' away the time.....

What a gorgeous morning on the farm.  I tell ya, mornings like this are what it's all about.  Just a beautiful sunrise coming up over the place being surrounded by farm sounds-like the chickens coming alive-really makes a man like me wonder what all those folks in the big cities are thinking.

So Joel has this field he has been preparing now for a few years and this year he will plant it.  When I say prepare I mean build soil structure to the point where he has something great and can start planting.  A lot of soil guys will tell you that what you have for soil is what you have for soil and there is nothing you can do about it.  Well that isn't true.  If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes maybe you could B.S. me into believing it, but I have witness the contrary.

Originally this field was unfit for growing anything.  True to Maine soil it was filled with rocks and unworkable.  So he took the last few years and turned it around through a process of nutrients and compost.  The land has done a 180 and now it looks really good.  From what I can see it is just as great as the field I worked in last year.  Of course there are still a few stubborn rocks left over of good size.  We pulled a honker out of the ground this morning.  I worked for 1/2 hour by hand trying to get it to budge with no luck, so Joel took the tractor and popped it out.  I called it an iceberg if you get what I'm saying.  Only the tiny tip of it stuck out.  What a friggin' monster it was.
Above is a pic of the dirty old back breaker.  Holy ol' sakes!!
So we spent the morning chasing diesel fuel and tilling.  I think we will be planting for sure next week. 

Above is a vid of the tilling going on in the new field.  After tilling we will go over it with the bed maker (raises the soil up into a raised bed style row) then plastic mulch.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 30, 2011


More rain came last night!  FFS!!

The weather lately has made it very difficult to get the field in order  for planting.  Just when they have a couple days to dry out we get dumped on again.  We have made some progress, but the farm for the most part is still a soupy mess.  When the ground is soft like this you don't want to drive the tractor over it again and again to prevent making everything into a greasy mud hole.  The hay has been collected and a few rows have been made ready for plastic, but we are still a couple full days away from getting all 3 fields to the point where we can start planting full time. 

This is a pic of the hay we've collected off of the planting beds.  Things were really looking good for a couple of days and we made great strides in getting the fields ready.  If Mother Nature would just cooperate for a week we could really be in business!!  Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Disc Harrow

I was still pulling back hay this morning trying to get what hay there is on the planting beds pulled aside so we can collect it.

In an attempt to make some progress in the area of field prep, Joel has the disc harrow out today trying to get what rows he could ready for planting.  For those of you who don't know a disc harrow is used to cut and chop the soil and cultivate in.  It is a less damaging method than tilling.  It really breaks up the upper most layer of the beds from big chunks of soil into small crumbles by way of alternating discs.  

The disc harrow is pictured above.  Apologize about the quality. 
Here is a vid of the disc harrow in action!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Field of dreams...

Early morning working in the fields, but we had sun!  Holy buckets! The bugs are brutal and hungry!  

Last year Joel covered part of his upper field with hay.  He told me to do likewise in my home garden and I had brilliant results.  He uses it to cut down on weed growth, add nutrients, keep nutrients in and keep the soil moist.  Today after weeks of rain we went up and started pulling back the hay to see what the soil looked like underneath and MAN what a difference the hay made.  The soil was moist, showed good structure and was ready for planting.  Also barely and weeds compared to the other half of his field without hay which is now fully covered over in weeds.  Also the soil is soft; and doesn't need to be tilled.  The parts of the upper dryer field without hay are either soup or hard as rock.  His other fields that are lower in elevation have no hay, and are not even fit to walk in due to the heavy rains we have had.  They are muck and wont be ready for a bit. For some reason the hay was able to control the moisture content and helped prevent the soil from becoming a soupy nightmare.
Above is a pic of the hay covered rows after we pulled it back...it is just screaming good soil!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Back at it!

Today started a new season for me at the farm!  Joel had me moving bins of compost around.  He will take the compost and use it in a 1/3 1/3 1/3 mix of compost, worm castings ("A convoluted mass of soil, mud, or sand thrown up by an earthworm or lugworm on the surface after passing through the worm's body.") and peat moss.  This mixture is then used to transplant "plugs" (small seedlings in tiny trays) into bigger containers.  It has rained a lot in Maine over the last few months and many farmers have had what they planted outside so far rot because of it, so Joel has held off on planting.  In doing so the small plugs which I would just normally plant directly into the fields from the trays, have outgrown their little slots and now need to be planted in bigger trays in order to save them from dying.  The fields are still pretty water logged and it looks like nothing but rain for the near future.....I am excited though to be back on the farm!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meet your farmer!

This is a good series of short films showcasing local farmers here in Maine!  A brilliant and motivating series for sure! http://www.meetyourfarmer.org/

the winter garden

About a month and a half ago the hoop house came alive and I could live out of it full time with all the salad greens I can eat!  Along with all kinds of greens from leaf lettuce, mescalin,big and baby leaf spinach I have radishes, onions, garlic, tomato, pepper, early peas and carrots!