Thursday, September 29, 2016

Plow and plant

Fantastic morning plowing and planting a late cover crop with the team this morning.  The plow is working very well and the new team lineup is the best ever.  I have the larger donks (Sebastian and Cassie) on the same doubletree to the right, and Rosie is on her own singletree.  I have set the hitch point on the evener over towards the larger donkeys, so that Sebastian and Cassie are doing probably 75% of the work, and Rosie the remaining 25%.  I may set it over even further, primarily to reduce side draft.  Right now I have Sebastian walking on plowed ground, and Cassie on unplowed ground (straddling the furrow).  If Sebastian walks in the furrow, it's hard to keep the plow in the furrow.  Keep in mind that side draft with 3 abreast minis is fairly severe.  Although each animal is pulling a fraction of what a full sized horse or mule would pull, they are not correspondingly that much narrower.  My singletrees are about 20" wide, and usually a full sized equine would have a 34" or maybe 40" wide singletree.  But my largest donk weighs about 350 lbs, probably 1/4 of what an average draft horse or mule weighs these days.  So things don't scale down quite the way I'd like, and side draft with 3 abreast is a big issue to deal with.

Anyhow, the soil conditions were pretty good (could have been a tad drier), and with rain coming I did not mess around much.  After plowing, I halted the team while I broadcast oats and peas.  They had a little trouble standing for me and I had to lunge for the lines at one point.  After broadcasting we picked up the spike tooth and just ran over the field a dozen times.  The seed all got covered and it actually looks pretty decent (see below).  September 29 is a tad late for oats and peas, but I don't want a lot of winter hardy cover crop to deal with next season.  I may try it in one small strip, since we are getting better at Spring plowing now.  For sure I am not eager to deal with terminating a lot of red clover again.  This strip was popcorn, flint corn, and garlic, and most of it was that darned red clover that was so hard to terminate in May.  I was a little disappointed in the corn yield, and I don't know if I should blame the red clover for not feeding the soil enough, or myself for planting too densely.  

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