7/5/06 Vol. 3 #17

The day after July 4th, we gave the staff the day off as it was going to blistering hot anyway.  Normally we would have worked a little and then taken the rest of the day easy.  We did the little bit of work but then had to go truck shopping.  I would rather walk across hot coals than go to a car dealership but Betsy’s little truck had finally gotten so unreliable (it is only twenty years old I don’t understand why these trucks can’t last longer) that we had to do something.  The big white truck is what most people see at market and when we do wholesale deliveries but the little truck is Betsy’s work vehicle.  It goes around and around the farm with buckets of water for the flowers and moves plants and supplies and more.  About twenty Saturdays a year it goes to market too.  Usually carrying 20-30 buckets of flowers it is this duty that makes it critical to the farm business. So while we only drive it less than 1000 miles a year we couldn’t carry on without it.  If you need a wheelbarrow and don’t have one there is just not substitute.  We have debated for years what to do, maybe a different kind of vehicle, or an on farm “stuff mover” and it always comes back to the same formula, one big truck, one little truck.  Last Saturday we had to borrow Rachel’s truck to get everything to market because the old girl just wouldn’t go.  This just won’t do so off we went on mission to knock it out quickly.  Believe it or not two stops later after very direct no nonsense haggling on our part we drove home with a new work truck for Betsy, I still wonder about the color name though “Impulse Red Pearl”.

Today is finally cover crop seeding day.  It dried out enough this week to get the acre of spring crops (or the remnants of) mowed down and turned under.  The rains are coming back tonight so I really need to get the soybeans and millet sown to take advantage of this next wet window.  This is always a race but made even more difficult with trying to get it all done before we have to go to market this afternoon.  These cover crops are the life blood of our soil fertility program.  In eight weeks we can grow up to eight tons per acre of organic matter, in place!  It is one of the miracles of raising crops.  That you can spin out about 150 pounds of seed and then two months later mow down 16,000 pounds of material and captured over 100 pounds of free nitrogen out of the atmosphere is mind boggling.  Include the fact that we don’t have to spend hours running up and down the road hauling manure or compost and then spreading it on the fields, my back and the environment are applauding.  When we turn these cover crops, also known as “green manure”, under they are broken down by the millions of soil inhabitants and all those nutrients are released for the next crop to use.  The earthworms, fungi and bacteria are all applauding too.  What a system nature developed over the billions of years!  Maybe I will take the Impulse Red Pearl over to our farm supply to get the seeds.

Picture of the Week
A sea of Lisianthus
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