Saturday, December 5, 2020

Sunpuddles, Casa Verde and Lentils

The Indoor Farm Supervisors (Bree and Hobnob) have taken to seeking out and enjoying the sun puddles that spread out more in the farmhouse than they do any other time of year.  It just so happens that one of the prime sun puddle locations is within sight of the desk where I write our farm blog (and do my PAN work).

This is Bree's favorite location - right now.  Since she is a cat, the favorite location moves from time to time on a schedule that is dictated by factors I can not quite decipher.  My suspicion is that she likes this location so she can sense the moment that it looks like I am preparing to leave the desk for a while.  She can sense that the moment of my departure is nearing - so she will hop down from her comfy location and ask to sit on my lap while I work.  

It's always hard to put a purring cat down - so I end up staying longer than I often intend.  

Such is the power of a cat.

It doesn't seem all that long ago that we put Casa Verde together and got the plastic to cover it.  Well, about a year and a half later and the plastic blew off.  Alas.  

It's not like losing the plastic on a high tunnel - that's for sure.  But, it is still a little annoying.  We're looking at putting something a bit more permanent on it this time.

Unfortunately, it really isn't made for that kind of covering - but we'll make it work somehow.  I think it is really just the fact that we expected a little more use time before we had to do additional work to our little greenhouse.  Again, such is the life on a small farm.

Then there are the fields in the East part of the farm.

We tried to put in a patchwork of cover crops in early September.  Unfortunately, there wasn't much rainfall prior to things getting cooler.  The net result is some of the covers did not germinate well.  Those that did - did not get all that big.  But, we got some coverage out of them.

The annual ryegrass did extremely well, as it usually does for us.  The clover wanted more water than it got, but we did see some germination.  I suspect we'll get more in the early spring months.  The buckwheat got nipped by a frost pretty early - but it germinated fine (that was a big section of the bare dirt just being the patchy green stuff).  The vetch and the millet weren't so happy about things.  In one case, I think the seed I used was no longer viable.  In the other - it would have been better if I drilled them in rather than broadcast them.

What?  You don't understand?  Ha ha! Time to learn something new!

If you wanted to seed a bare patch in your lawn, you might be instructed to spread seed over the surface and maybe rake the seed in a bit.  Essentially, you are broadcasting seed over the surface of the soil.  If the seed gets buried too deeply, it will not germinate well.  So, annual ryegrass loves being broadcast over the surface.  We then take our flextine cultivator to essentially 'rake' the seed in a little.

The coverage we got was pretty good (see below).

We we talk about 'drilling' seed, we are looking to put the seed beneath the soil surface a certain depth.  Normally larger seeds, like lentils or vetch, might prefer to be drilled into the soil at their optimum depth.  For example, if you were planting green beans in your garden, you might push each seed into the soil to about the depth of your first knuckle on your finger.  If you just threw them onto the ground, there might be germination, but the young seedling would probably desiccate and die without some soil coverage.

Well, we've had plenty of success with broadcasting buckwheat, annual ryegrass, millet and other cover crops.  We don't have a seeder to drill in multiple rows of cover crop at once either.  So - the most efficient method for us is to broadcast.  If it is a larger seed, we are more aggressive with our 'raking them in.'

Anyway, the lentils were a pleasant surprise. They have been a bit damaged by the colder weather - I should have gotten a picture earlier when they were happier.  But, you get what you get sometimes!

As far as the "not enough moisture" for the cover crops thing.  I think we can be excused for not finding the energy to put some overhead irrigation on them to encourage germination and growth.  After all, we've been swimming in moisture each of the last three fall seasons.  We're used to the problem of soils being too wet to plant.  We aren't sure how to handle the too dry thing any more...

Have a fine weekend everyone!

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