Friday, March 11, 2016

Back At It

It is a tradition for Tammy and I to spend the date of our anniversary together as much as is allowed by life schedules and this year was no exception.  She will likely pay for this since she has all kinds of things going on at school right now.  But, Thursday was an extremely nice day and Tammy requested some outdoor, farm time.  So, we made that happen.  (ok, ok.  There was going to be some outdoor farm time because we need to get things done anyway, but the order of things might have changed slightly to meet her request!)

Hauling the broadfork out to Valhalla
One of our tasks was unpacking and checking all of the seed orders that have arrived.  But, that didn't get us outside.  So, we gathered tools and moved on out to one of our high tunnels.  For those who may be new to what we do, we have two plastic covered hoop buildings that are commonly known in horticulture circles as "high tunnels."  We have named the older high tunnel "Eden."  Eden is the smaller of the two buildings (30'x72') and the Valhalla is the newer and larger building (30'x96').

Hiking turned out to be good preparation for broadfork work
We need to prepare the ground in the high tunnels for our early plantings and the first step is to use the two-handled broadfork.  This tool has sturdy 8 (or so) inch tines.  You step on the cross bar, push the tines into the ground and then rock the whole tool to loosen the soil.  The words do not adequately describe the workout you can get with this tool.  Our soil is dense enough that simply 'stepping' on the bar will not push the tines all the way in - so it ends up being more of a step on, march in place while balancing, step off procedure. 

I managed to get about a third of Valhalla worked up in a reasonable amount of time. I'm still a little bit off the pace I'd like to work at, but not far off.  On the other hand, I began to realize that I actually have the length of rows in Eden imprinted on my brain.  Every time I'd get to about 70 feet in a pass, I'd start looking around to see if I was by the end wall.  I don't know whether to consider this a good or bad thing at this point.

Barty got a chance to play today too!

We do have a propensity for naming things.  Oh, you noticed?  Good.  Get used to it.

Barty is our walk behind tractor with a nice tiller attachment.  After using the broadfork I brought Barty out to start making the seed beds.  We should be able to finish the project and get things in the ground by the end of the weekend!

While Rob was doing the bed prep, Tammy was pulling a little plant residue out of the North beds.  Then she spent time bringing materials out to Valhalla so she could start planting onions into our nice new red trays.

Step one, add drain holes.
We've used some white plastic trays the past couple of years and have found that they break up very quickly.  They're just not able to handle what we put them through.  So, Tammy did a little research and found these.  At the very least, we aren't going to lose track of them easily.

Well, that's a little less than half of them.
One the holes were drilled, Tammy got the water connected up in the high tunnel and she mixed some starting medium up for the onions.  She got five trays planted with the medium she brought out to the tunnel and then ran out.  Since the sun was starting to go down and we had chores and dinner to attend to, we figured it was enough for the time being.

What's this?  An "On Farm Farmer Selfie?"
Apparently, Tammy and I think we're pretty clever since we came up with our 'Farmer Selfie" thing on our recent trip.  I'm sure once the novelty of these things...or the novelty of this year's growing season catches up to us, this will die down.  But, for now, we prefer to think we are still rather clever and we will share a farmer selfie when the mood and opportunity meet up.

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