Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Power Tools

From SHF CSA


Up to this point all of the beds we've planted have been prepared by hand. We've stripped sod, forked and raked and even mowed in between the beds by hand. This spring we planned an expansion, and part of that plan was to do an initial preparation of the new beds with a little help from internal combustion motors. Last thursday was nice and dry during the day (despite the forecast) and we borrowed a riding mower which took down the tall grass on 40 new beds. Yesterday, the one dry window in this week's forecast, we borrowed a BCS walk behind tractor with a rotary plow from our friends at Red Truck Farm. That piece of machinery allowed us to turn up soil for 40 new beds, which more than doubles our existing 28 hand dug beds.

From SHF CSA


Above is a view of what the rotary plow does. In about two hours we had roughly broken up the sod and worked the soil about 8" deep. We'll still have quite a bit of hand work to get the beds ready for planting, but stripping sod alone on that number of beds would have taken us over 40 hours of hand work. It's hard to argue with those short term economics, but given enough time I still prefer to do it all by hand. We'll consider using the BCS or other tractors occasionally when we're short on time, but I hope at this point we'll be able to finish out this season without.

I'm glad we're getting a decent amount of moisture, it saves us a lot of irrigation work, and it's better for the germinating seeds. I would like a little more warmth and a few dry windows for more planting. We'll see what the next few weeks bring. Meanwhile the spring greens are doing great and even the tomatoes we planted last week look like they're handing the cold nights.

From SHF CSA

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