8/27/08 Vol. 5 #23

Well that was the largest rain event we’ve had in maybe a year or more, 3.5 inches.  Just in time to help with the crops but it also helps to get the ground ready for fall planting of cover crops and next springs earliest flowers.  It has been so dry that it has been impossible to get the soil probe into the ground to take soil samples much less think about turning crop residues in.  The fall process here at the farm starts with taking soil tests of every planting area in August.  By the time we are ready to begin preparing the fields for next year, in September, the results will have come back.  We amend the fields only once every year as we are really feeding the soil microbes that in turn help release the nutrients that actually feed the crops.  We are just trying to make the soil environment ideal for all of the “livestock” that live in the soil and help us farm.

What we add to the soil are minerals that get used up in the process of growing the cash crops.  Every time we send a flower or head of lettuce home with you, you take some of our minerals with you so we have to replace them.  We add lime (calcium and magnesium) to make sure the soil is not too acid for the little critters.  We also add phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) which are major players in root, plant and fruit development.  With that all set for the coming year we then can turn under the remnants of this years crops and get the soil ready for the winter.  We will raise up beds or wide ridges so the soil will drain faster and warm up quicker in the late winter and early spring when we need to begin planting.  After that we will seed it all down with soil holding and improving cover crops of a grain and a legume.  It is hard to imagine that we need to be getting ready for next year already.

On the turkey front the two that were injured last week have been returned to general population.  One we slipped back in a few days later with the younger birds and then moved back with the older birds and they all are getting along fine.  Quee Queg (remember the tattooed native from Moby Dick), the more injured of the two stayed in the hospital for a week and now is in the same process of re-entry, first with the little guys and then the whole clan.  We moved them to a new field so there are new things to keep everyone entertained.  Did I say it was like teenagers?

Picture of the Week
some damp turkeys, Quee Queg on the far left
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