Tag Archives: adding compost to the field

Spring 2017

silage tarps for weed suppression

We have had wind gusts of 30 – 40 mph lately and the silage tarps are staying in place.  I have around 50 to 60 sand bags down on each section.  The sand bags are filled with compost.

agribon covering for frost protection

We had a warm February; however, March has been very different.  This week we had nighttime lows of 22, 33, 20, and 19 degrees.  I put a 2nd Agribon AG-19 on the 3rd row with the ranunculus.  It was so windy and cold from Tuesday – Thursday that I had to leave the 2nd cover on the row.  I finally was able to take the covers off yesterday.  The cold did not affect the anemones at all.  It did burn the leaves of the larger ranunculus that are getting ready to bloom.

sweet peas

This is a picture of the sweet peas last weekend.  I only had a layer of Agribon AG-19 on this row.  The sweet peas did get hurt from this week’s really cold nighttime lows; however, I feel they will bounce back.

tilling in compost

Last week, I was busy spreading compost on the rows in field 2.  I tilled the winter rye cover crop and compost into the soil.  It was too windy and cold to work in field 2 this week.  I still need several more loads of compost and hardwood mulch to finish this field.

deer fencing

Last week, we pounded in 30 ten foot poles for our 8 foot deer fencing around the second field.  I will have 2 gates in this section to make it easier for me to drive the pickup in this field.

stock seedllings

I have 3 flats of harden off stock ready to go to the field.  However, I held off from planting them this week due to the really cold nights.  I kept them in our garage.  The nighttime low in the garage was 40 degrees.  It did not seem to affect them at all.

seed germination racks

Since it was cold and windy outside this week, I did a lot of seed sowing.  Since I started using the clear humidity domes, I am getting great germination.  I needed the top 6th shelf so we added lights this week.  I have trays of ammi, feverfew, yarrow, mint, cerinthe, gomphrena, rudbeckia, ageratum, atriplex, celosia, dianthus, etc.  We just purchase light fixtures from our local home improvement center.  We are using T12 lights.  They do not get as hot as T5 lights so I can have the lights close to the seedlings.

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.