Thursday, April 30, 2009

More About Cropping

We're into full swing now. Colin has one field of wheat already planted and hopes to get another couple in. I even think he's planting sweet corn this weekend. This is the field of wheat. He's already spread the "organic soil conditioner" -aka piggie poo and then Dad followed along behind with the disk and rolling harrow to make sure it gets worked in so that the nitrogen won't escape into the air.

The wheat is "no tilled" which means that Colin did not plow this field in the fall. It looks a little smoother than normal, but that's because of using the disk and harrow. No tilling saves a lot of fuel, which is good for the environment and for our input costs. It is also a time saver, something to think about now that Colin's Dad is starting to want to slow down. We have to find time saving ways if Colin is going to be able to work the land himself.

This field is what a no till field usually looks like. It was corn last year, this year it will be soy beans. We're still waiting for the ground to warm up before planting this one. Right now Colin is chisel plowing another field to get it ready for corn. With our heavy clay ground it is not a great idea to no til corn. It really affects production.

This is where the real farm work is going on right now. This is Daddy's greenhouse and it is full of sprouts. You can see the plastic hanging down from the ceiling. Colin uses that to create a smaller greenhouse inside to keep the temperature about freezing overnight. There is a space heater for really cold nights. We won't be safely free of frost until May 24.

Here's a selection of plants. Mostly tomatoes right now. But the cucumbers and pumpkins are all planted too. There is even a pot of flowers for Momma's garden :)
And here is where a lot of the tomato plants will end up. Colin has the garden covered in heavy black plastic and makes a hole for the plant. We have soaker hoses underneath the plastic, but we've only had to water a couple times in the 2 years we've gardened this way. Having the plastic was a life-saver last summer. It was so cold and wet. But the tomatoes that were laying on the plastic were still good, if they had been laying on the ground they would have rotted. I sure hope we have a good tomato season this year. Last year was dismal. Not only do we need the income, but I need to can tomatoes and make fruit relish. I was also thinking of making tomato sauce this year too.
That's about it for now. Nothing too exciting (according to me-haha) going on around here. If anyone has questions feel free to ask. I never know how much people want to know :)


Anonymous said...

"Cropping" has a whole nother meaning for me as a scrapbooker!!!

Farming just looks hard (physically and mentally), does Colin have a degree in agriculture or did he learn from his father?

This is just such an exciting time of the year, as we all spend time outside, working and playing both, also it is a time of preparing for the next winter.

Paula said...

Yes it is hard work. Colin will be cranky from now until it all gets in. It's like perpetual PMS for a few weeks -ha ha. Right now we're hoping for a week of sunshine. They seem to be calling for just enough rain to put planting on hold.

Colin went to Centralia Agricultural College and has a Farm Management degree. He now wishes he had never wasted the time and money. It really got him no where and didn't really teach him anything he didn't know. He wishes he had gotten a trade. That way he could be like most of the alleged "farmers" around here. Farm, but really earn your income from an outside job, eg. welding, plumbing. Most "farmers" around here are school teachers, electricians, work at the nuclear plant, or lawyers; or else they have teacher/nurse wives. There aren't too many people still trying to be a real farmer.

Colin won't admit this, but I get the feeling that Colin could have been so much more than "just" a pig farmer. But he was not encouraged to make something of himself like his sister was. It's obvious (to me anyway) that he was seen as "farm labour" (still is if you ask me) and they didn't want him to go anywhere!