Our greenhouse has been filling with plants since early March. The first to have been planted were the onions (shown below), which are eight weeks old and ready to be transplanted to the field. The field conditions, however, are not as ready as the onions. The soil is still damp with the cold of spring and a tractor working the field today would just cause damage and create baseball-sized dirt lumps as hard as rocks that we would have to contend with the whole season. (It is no fun hoeing rocks around — bad for the hoe, too.)
Our soil is rather clay-like. Ok. A lot clay-like. We do have a good percentage of organic matter, too, but the heavy clay really holds in the moisture. Good in the dry summer, bad in the wet spring.
Spring winds help dry out the soil, as does the sun. April, however, has been lacking the sun part. Until this week we could count on 2 fingers the number of full sunny days this April had. According to the weather forecast (aka the farmer’s life-line—maybe I should say worry-line—more about this another time) it looks like spring has sprung.
About a week jam-packed with sun and wind to dry out the farm and we can begin the field work. One short half-inch of rain within that week, however, sets us back for days. Because of the lay of our land, both sloping and flat, some areas dry out quicker than others.
We’re getting close. It’s been almost a full week, the fields are drying out, and more sun and rising temperatures are in the forecast. It’s beginning to look like Monday will be our first official planting day in the field.
How clay-like is our soil? A few years ago I made a sculpture out of the soil on our farm. To this day it remains as hard as a rock and stands (actually kneels) in our kitchen.