Thursday, April 30, 2015

More potatoes going in

I brought the team out this morning to pull the spring tooth over that grassy strip of old oats and peas.  They pulled beautifully and I decided the land was clear enough now to plant the rest of the potatoes.  I re-hitched Rosie and Sebastian in the afternoon and carefully opened two trenches with the turning plow.  Rosie & Sebastian seem to be my calmest duo for precision work. Anything involving Cassie these days seems to have a little too much exuberance.  She gets excited (or nervous) and then it's off to the races.  Anyway, for once we made a straight furrow! I gave them a rope to straddle on the first pass, which seemed to help.  Both team and teamster are getting a better feel for walking straight.  It was really fun to do this kind of "mass production" potato planting.  There are now two 120' rows of potatoes--wow!  Soil conditions are perfect and I expect they will grow very strongly.  What am I going to do with all those potatoes????

As usual my marking procedures are marginal.  From the North end , this second row consists of 15' of french fingerlings from Johhny's, then about 5-6 yukon golds, followed by 50' of red norlands, and finished up with kennebecs.  There were some additional kennebecs so I went into the next row and planted about 10' in that row on the North end only.  The rows might be a little squashed.  I was going for 30" width, but I kind of mis judged where the plow was going and I think it's pretty tight up against the potatoes I planted 10 days ago.  Oh, well.

I brought the tractor out into the garden for the first and possibly only time this season to open up that new strip that had just been "stumped."  Using the spring tooth and multiple passes I got it scratched up pretty well.  I know from experience that attempting to moldboard this kind of new ground is useless--the old tree roots lying below ground grab the plow and just tear the hitch to pieces, while the wheels spin and the furrow opens and closes.  So I will be cover cropping this strip and re-working it over the season, counting on good cover crops to drill down and open the soil.  The old roots will begin to rot and over time decompose, freeing up nitrogen to grow a crop.

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