It's hard to find a beginning place to write about something as ongoing -- with both successes and frustrations -- as the garden this year. I shall just jump in and try, I guess...
Tilly Milly, my umpteen-hand walk-behind tiller is taking an extended vacation at the shop getting her motor worked on. That setback put me behind in both tilling and planting even as we acquired the tiller attachment for the Wheel Horse lawn tractor -- which was, of course, missing parts. Parts which attach it to the tractor which were left on the previous owner's tractor when he gave it to his son (and understandably so, I would say, after our replacement parts arrived and I ended up helping K get it all installed on the tractor. Suffice to say, the process involved lots of barked knuckles, those words and installation manual instructions and illustrations that did NOT match what we saw in front of us.They never do, do they?
Anyway, Big Bertha, with K at the helm, has been doing a bang-up job in the last week or so and the second quadrant of the vegg garden is ready and being planted. All the cabbage and kin that are currently on site, are in their rows, though there are flats of 3 cabbage varieties at Abundant Acres with their greenhouse offerings, and at the Brewer Farmers Market the past couple of weeks. Likely after the coming Memorial Weekend market, any remainders will join their counterparts in rows here.
K says that Bertha does a great job as long as he is patient. Initially, he had expectations that she could produce as much till as quickly as the BIG tractor/tiller combo that we contracted to break soil when we got the place. Well, she can't, of course.. but even where the grasses and weeds did not get burnt back this spring, she is giving a good till as long as he takes it slow and gives the garden multiple passes.
I suspect that the early plantings -- including the strawberries -- are not in rows spaced widely enough to allow K and Bertha to work between the rows of plants. However, as long as the plants are small -- or things that do not grow tall, like the berries -- we are planning to experiment with removing a couple of tines and driving to put the planted row under the tractor, between the wheels...
I suspect we are going to get a lot of practice swapping implements, though. The mowing deck and the tiller can not coexist on the machine. The deck needed work (that was the story of the spring, I guess... ) and just came back from having some cracks welded. Hopefully K will be able to get it up and running and get the "hay" mowed down a bit. though the 3rd and 4th quadrants need a bit more tilling and will likely get plants this week (crossing fingers for time and weather).
We need to find some way to efficiently gather the mowings, too... The blades on the mower are "mulching" blades, which means they cut and re-cut the grass which makes it hard to pick up in one of those pull-behind sweepers (even if we had one) and the mower will not side-discharge so we cannot use a bagger. So meanwhile, all this good green manure is left to lay.
With the potatoes and onions yet to be planted, the coldframe lettuces needing transplanting and succession plantings looming... with the grasses at knee-height, and growing, not having been mowed even once... I have this constant feeling of being "behind". But I know that in the larger scheme of things I am ahead... ahead by not only one but TWO tillers -- ahead by a tiller that not only allows K to help but has drawn him out of his virtual electronic world and sucked him -- big time -- into the world of small tractors, farm implements and even to the plants themselves. And, as Martha would say, that is a VERY good thing.
Also, new this year, is our foray into a much longer market season, at the Brewer Farmers Market in Brewer, Maine. This market is open Tues - Sat from early May until the end of October. Thus far, our Stone Soup Collaborative has been there only on Saturdays, but as our amount of produce increases, look for us there on Thursdays, as well! I hope to have an initial offering of ear
- ▼ 2010 (16)
- ► 2009 (102)