Besides the garden areas, I worked on preparing the soil in two small fields during the last couple of days. Each of these fields is about half of an acre in size. Our small corn field was in one of them last year while the other one lay fallow. Actually, I disked it and seeded it with spring wheat last year, but the spring wheat idea didn’t work too well. So, I just let the field lay. I bush hogged it and then had it limed last fall.
Last year’s corn field is near the alfalfa field, down past the pond. I was going to grow several different varieties of dried beans in it this year but decided not to after all so that I might have more time to devote to working on the house. I was undecided about what to plant in it until this week. I had bought some Austrian Winter Peas to plant a year or so ago, but did not get the chosen field worked and ready for them. I stored them in an old freezer in the barn which was supposed to keep the mice out. I say supposed to because they found a way in anyway. I did finally stop them – they were more interested in the corn I had in there than the peas, though. Three years ago I planted a half acre in peas and oats and made hay off of it. The goats love it. So, I decided to plant the field in peas and oats for this year.
To begin prepping the field, I sub-soiled it. Then, I disked it two times. I used the field cultivator on part of it to rake some of the corn debris to the sides of the field. Then, I broadcast 100 pounds of oats and about 85 pounds of peas over the field. Finally, I disked the seeds into the dirt. I wasn’t worried about having a perfectly prepared seedbed, just having the dirt loose enough for the seeds to be in good contact and lightly covered with it. I may not make hay off of it but, rather, may pasture the cows on it later and till in what’s left. Either way, I hope the peas will help add some nitrogen to the soil since they are legumes.
The other field behind the ridge is long an narrow. I didn’t want to plow it, but I did want to work it up a bit. We’ll grow corn along with winter squash and pumpkins in it this year. I began by sub-soiling this field and then disking it a couple of times. It actually worked quite nicely. Yesterday before taking back the equipment I borrowed from Gill, I decided to go ahead and run the field cultivator through. It worked great. In fact, the cultivator tried to go in deeper than my tractor could pull – the wheels would spin when it was too deep. This really broke the ground up nicely. I’ll let it sit for a few weeks now since we won’t plant corn until May. It should disk up quite nicely at that time.
It’s good to get some of the soil preparation work done now. I have so much to do on the house, but I need to be able to have other things done and out of the way so I can focus on it. This time of year and during the summer, there are so many things that need doing that I just don’t seem to get to some of them.