Early Spring Preparation

farm life

Usually it is too wet in the spring to till; however, it has been dry this spring.  I just did a light till to incorporate the compost and hardwood mulch into the soil.  Since I do not have a bed maker attachment, I remade the beds by hand.  All I had to do is use a rake to remake the path between the rows.

silage tarps

We are trying silage tarps this year to suppress weeds.  We want to protect the newly tilled rows from heavy rains and weed growth.  A great book to read is “The Market Gardener” by Jean-Martin Fortier.  He uses silage tarps.  When a harvest is complete on a row, he immediately covers it.  The tarp stays on the bed for 2-4 weeks.  I may try planting buckwheat cover crop in May on some of the rows that I am not using yet.  After the buckwheat blooms and before it goes to seed, I would need to do a light tilling just to mix the cover crop into the soil.  I would then cover the row with the silage tarp and let it decompose with the help of soil organisms.

filling sand bags with compost

I always keep a pile of compost on hand at the farm so I am using compost to fill the sand bags.  When the bags finally break over time, it will just add more compost to the field instead of sand or gravel.

farm life with silage tarps and agribon

It took a lot of sand bags to hold down those silage tarps, and I am still making more sand bags.  I will be planting in those rows in March and April.  The field looks really good.  I used a lot of cover crops in 2014 to 2016 in this field.  The buckwheat and the winter rye really did a good job suppressing weeds so I am not having a lot of problems with weeds this year so far.  My biggest problem is soil erosion because our land slopes in various directions.

5 thoughts on “Early Spring Preparation

  1. Can I ask how many sand bags you used in total on each tarp, and the dimensions of your tarp? We’re getting ready to do something similar, and I’m trying to determine how much weighing down I need to do. Thank you!

    1. We purchase a 50 foot x 100 foot silage tarp from our local agriculture store. We cut the tarp into 3 pieces so the width is around 16 1/2 feet. I am putting down around 60 sand bags as we have a lot of wind some times. Probably around 22 sand bags on each side, 5 on each end, and 6 on the rows in the center. These tarps stay down all winter until about 3 weeks before I am ready to use those rows. Hope that helps!

    1. Yes we reuse it. Since I am using it for cut flower production, the flowers are being cut daily. I am not growing anything with too many branches. It can be a pain sometimes but it keeps everything from falling down on windy days or doing strong storms.

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