>Balance

>The whole farmin’ thing has been in low gear for a little while due to a camping trip last weekend. I think about the farm quite a bit when I’m not there but not in an anxious way. It’s actually working out like I wanted it to; working like the turtle instead of the hare. We’re not likely to make a lot of cash at this venture, at least not at the start so best to not stress about it and start working too hard.

Just the same, yesterday P and I loaded up the car with a bunch of plant starts and seed and worked a few hours in the afternoon; me setting up irrigation and soil-prepping beds and P setting out broccoli, pak choi, cauliflower and other starts.

While on the road for the camping trip, we passed by a Buckerfields in Parksville and picked up two half rotten sacks of yukon gold seed potatoes at a very steep discount. On Monday, L and I went to the farm where I began by power-harrowing the bed to kill the rejuvenating orchard grass and to expose a bunch more stones (not that the potatoes care about stones). Then, once again, I used the rotary plow to dig a 6″ deep trench in the middle of the bed. L and I then dumped out the seed, separated the completely rotten from the slightly rotten and chucked the good ones in the trench around 8″ apart. We managed to space them out to fill about a 90′ row.

I think it will be important to water them frequently but sparingly. Unlike the irrigation catalog pictures where the dripline leaves perfectly round, evenly-spaced dinner plate-sized wet spots on top of the soil, ours leaves irregular shaped coffee mug-sized wet spots. The irregularily is a function of not having perfectly a flat or plumb bed; the small size presumably due the particularly sandy soil we have. I imagine the water dripping not exactly straight down but at such a small angle with vertical that we’ll have to be careful how we plant things so as not to starve them of moisture. The potatoes should be fine since each seed starts out about 6″ below the surface and therefore has a very good chance of getting hit by one or the other of the 8″-centred drips tapering down around it. But, even though the potatoes will see water, it will be a fleeting sight since the water is basically being flushed through. A more clayey soil would work like a sponge to soak up and hold the water so that a good watering once every few days would suffice. We may want to water more than once a day.

Today was very rockocentric. I had meant to plant some bush beans (canellini, red kidney, edamame and garbanzo) but there were just too many stones to remove. Again, the beans wouldn’t care but I feel as though I should get as many stones as I can out of the soil while I have the mental energy to do so. The only bed where it’s critical to remove them is the carrot bed (and turnips if we do them). P and I spent a considerable amount of time removing stones from our friends’ carrot bed and, still, you can tell where the Nelsons have had to curl around obstacles. They’re still crunchy and sweet and they’re striaght enough to be marketable but they would be better if they were all perfectly straight. Today, after removing all the obvious stones on top or just below the surface, I power harrowed the bed yet again. It was as though we had never pulled any stones out! You could set the rotating tines of the harrow jump on top of almost unbelievably large stones only a few inches below the surface. I guess I picked about a whole ton of stones today.

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