A sunny day. An open field. And a tractor.
That’s all it takes to make a farmer happy!
There is nothing better than feeling the warm, spring sun on your face, riding on the tractor & working the land, watching the birds soar overhead or grabbing worms on the ground, and smelling the soil as it gets loosened & turned.
This was my field and my view today.
This particular field is where we will grow many of our vegetables this season including tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers …
Last summer it rested. Instead of vegetables we grew cover crops here (oats, peas, buckwheat, vetch, clovers …) which grow and “cover” the ground and are then turned under and allowed to decompose, adding nutrients & organic matter to the soil – feeding the soil. The other day I plowed the field and today I leveled it with a disc. A pass with the cultivator will smooth it out and then it’s ready to be planted.
To the left of this field is the patch of ground where we grew vegetables last year. It has already been seeded to oats & peas and will get it’s break from growing vegetables this season.
We are fortunate that we have enough acres that we can rotate fields in and out of vegetable production. Growing vegetables can be hard on the land and giving it a rest helps maintain the soil health. Growing cover crops on it and applying manure & compost in the fall improves the soil health.
And as much as I – and most farmers – enjoy being on our tractors and working the land, we know this is harmful to the soil. Turning it over with a plow or slicing it with a disc disturbs the layers and damages the living things in the soil including bacteria, fungi, worms, insects and plant roots, all of which contribute to the health of the soil.
So we try to keep it to a minimum, disturbing the ground as little as possible, while still preparing the soil enough to allow seeding & transplanting. We are constantly learning, experimenting, evaluating and hopefully improving our farming practices.
But today I was on the tractor – and I loved it!
Around the farm this week …
We have lots of vegetables in the ground – and we are planting more each day. The sunshine and warmer temperatures this week following the rains of previous weeks make for optimum growing conditions. (The taller plants on the left are kale from last fall. We have been eating & enjoying it. Quickly it is going to flower & then to seed. Then the bees & other insects will enjoy it too.)
The new barn quilt that I painted this winter.
Amy has so many helpers!