Monday, August 7, 2017

Time Machine

This is sort of a Before and After type of post - except we're going to go backward in time.  Why not?

Ok, ok.  Why?  Well, because I want to, of course!  Need there be any other reason?

The most recent picture in this chain is actually still a couple (maybe a few) weeks old already.  But, it shows the goal we were working towards.  We wanted to get our potatoes hilled, but weather (and all of the other work we needed to do) just kept getting in the way.

The final product.
We used a tool bar with two discs to hill the loose dirt in the paths onto the potatoes.  The purpose is to keep the tubers covered so they are not exposed to the sun.  If we had done this sooner, it might also have encouraged more tuber set and size.  But, we know we missed the right time slot this year.  That sort of thing just happens and we make the best of it when it does.
Just before hilling
The ground was still a bit damp and the weeds were sizable, so we removed the weeds so they wouldn't re-root.  They went to our compost pile (Mount Evermess) and will one day become some nice nutrients for some other crop.  Rob did a quick run down the paths with the tiller to loosen the soil up so we didn't end up with large chunks of dirt being thrown on the plants.  Tammy made sure to get the irrigation lines in place in hopes that the hilling would cover them and hold them in place.
Just about done with the in row weeding
Our flex tine cultivator helped reduce the weeds that were directly in the rows of potatoes in MOST cases, but there were still tougher weeds like Canada Thistle and some grasses we missed that had to be hand pulled.  We also got closer to the plants with wheel hoes and we called on the flex tine weeder with the knives to get as close as we were comfortable with tractor cultivation.  For more on that, keep reading.

Conservative passes with the flex tine weeder
We really wanted to run the flex tine weeder much, much earlier than this.  But, when it gets too wet and stays too wet, you can't do it.  We put the squash knives on the tool bar with the flex tines and ran a conservative cultivation to get used to how close we could get without damaging the potatoes.  Clearly, after the first two passes, we could be a bit more aggressive.  We played with that a little bit and used wheel hoes to knock down as much as we could as well.  Next year it should be even easier to respond.

And there you are, pretty close to the same chunk of our farm in pictures after some good work!


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