The first crop was planted for the 2013 season this past week. I put in two varieties of hardneck garlic. On the day I did it I expected to get it in with little trouble. Of course the ground was frozen from a hard frost and I had to wait several hours for it to warm. Our light friable soil usually allows easy work but I had trouble with my standard methods and had to resort to using a dibble. It took a bit of time but no way would I resort to compacting the soil with other machine work methods.
It was such a beautiful fall day. A bit of sun, light winds and eventually temperatures in the mid 40’s. While the temperatures were slowly working up I went about the fall harvest. The broccoli and other cole crops have been heavy producers. I quickly filled all of the harvest containers and had to scrounge around for more. Radicchio, lettuces, kale, leeks, napa cabbage, bull’s blood beets, rutabegas and some dry beans were all beautiful. I was pleased to see decent spinach. I love cooking the spinach with some garlic, onions and tomatoes to make a sauce for spinach pizza. I had the harvest done and took time to have lunch before I started in on the garlic.
The opportunity to watch the natural activity on the farm is what a lunch break is for me. This day I saw the energetic activity of finches and bluebirds. The sandhill cranes that raised their young in the pastures were not around. They probably moved on to the big collecting areas that the cranes seem to use before moving south for the bitter portion of winter. I have noticed groups of 70-100 cranes collecting to feed. Kind of like other animals that gather and gossip or spread news of the past few months.
The air was scented with ruminant manures. The Tiller’s staff and interns had windrowed all of the seasons manures adjacent to the vegetable field. They’ll cook and decompose to a beautiful compost for application through-out the farm. With addition of field waste, we are able to return to the soil a lot of what began here. Part of feeding and supporting our soil and building fertility. Ruminant manures may be nasty to some. To farmers that feed our soils, they are food for the microbes and valued for what they contribute to the farm. The mild odor is nothing like the noxious swine or poultry manures that can make your eyes water. I just have to be careful to keep it out of the house…
Posted by Farmer Pete @ 09:16 AM EST