Saturday, May 7, 2016

The terminators

The red clover cover crop is going to be very tough to terminate.  I am still hoping to plant corn in there in a couple of weeks, but it is going to be sketchy.  I tried plowing it about two weeks ago, and it was too wet.  Today it was also still too wet, but the calendar is telling me that I have to try something.  With the soil wet the plow will not scour well and it's twice as hard to pull.  It also clogs and jumps out.  Anyhow, we got about 50% of it cut and turned over, which is about the best I can hope for.  My plan is to come back in a week and start digging with the Danish sweeps and start killing off the surviving plants.  It will take time and 3-4 field days, I think.

Because of the crisis in getting this worked up, I am going to use last year's potato, tomato, pepper, and pea ground to grow corn.  Not my first choice, but I put some extra loads of compost to help the soil a bit.  I'm not sure red clover is the best cover crop when my equipment for terminating it is a bit marginal.

To the left of the photo is the winter wheat cover crop, which is turning over more or less OK.  This could almost just be worked with the Danish tine digger, especially if it was a bit drier.  The cucurbits will go into this ground, so there is a little more time to play with.

You can see the strip behind and the soil is maybe 50-60% turned over.  I left a strip of clover untouched, mostly out of curiosity to observe it's growth and life cycle.  The team pulled like demons.

I am liking these Danish sweep wheel hoes better and better.  This is my first try, and I'm getting some understanding of how to set them up.  I recommend starting with the sweep flat on the floor, and then get the Danish tine mounted such that the wheel is about 2" off the floor (would like it a bit higher than what is shown).  This gives the sweep a nice angle of attack to get into the soil.  The next element is handle height, and if you are starting with the sweep flat on the floor the handles should then be 2" above a comfortable working height.  This height for most people should be around their center of mass, the belly button, for best power and control.  This unit is also a bit short coupled--the #2 model (which I gave away) is longer and drives a little straighter as a result.

Asparagus--thank goodness!  My first real vitamins in several months.

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