Friday, March 28, 2008

Plowing The Front Fourty

The installation of the new utility poles and much thicker electric wire has been a big improvement. The power stays on pretty regular now. Considering what they did and the terrain on which it was done, they did a fine job and the damage was minimal. The water line to the roadside vegetable garden was cracked. It will be repaired before I turn it back once the freeze danger has passed.

Their big trucks however left deep tracks in the dormant vegetable production area that funneled melting snow and rain water straight to the top of my driveway. With increasing warmer weather and a short stretch of low additions of atmospheric moisture, it was a good time to plow the front fourty.

It might have been easier with a plow and a mule. The tiller did not want to start until I found an old spark plug from another tool that would work. Between the abundance of small rocks that liked to get stuck in the blades, bringing things to a stop and the compacted soil, it took a good portion of the day to get the job done.

A call from the resident gardeners reminded me not to plow under their wildflowers that surround the perimeter of the roadside vegetable garden. Of course I would not do that.

I'd like to go get a free load of wood chips to cover the whole thing. It will suppress the weeds, keep in the moisture and add organic matter over time. There is a spot down by the river where the tree trimmers dump their loads and you can just go load it up and take it away.

My potential future cash crop is beginning to come up down in the forest. Ramps, Allium tricoccum is a highly desired native. I collected and sowed Ramp seed last fall. Last year when I arrived the leaves were long gone. Only by knowing the location of this patch was I able to look for the flowers and wait for the ripe seed.

I will certainly have my eye out for more as I wander through the forest this spring. Twenty years from now the Ramps might just rival the Daffodils in number.


Nancy J. Bond said...

A big job, well done.

lisa said...

Great job with the tiller! I used to get a workout using my mom's in her clay Indiana soil, but mine is sandy and loaded with rocks, so it's hand-cultivating for me. Ramp? Never heard of it before, but I'm all for cultivating rare stuff, so I may give this a try as well. Where did you get seed?

Christopher C. NC said...

Eventually I would prefer to switch to a no-till, just generous additions of compost and mulch method. I needed to get rid of the tire tracks and compactions to start off.

Lisa I got the Ramp seed from the existing patch here when they ripened in late September. I have seen some mail order places, I think in West Virginia, that sell seed and plants.

chuck b. said...

OMG, you are going to have the biggest vegetable garden ever! Holy crap!

Ramps--fascinating. After reading that article I want to try growing ramps too. I like that they were a vitamin- and mineral-loaded tonic after the long, nutrient-starved winter months.

Funny, I reacted badly when I read that you tilled. I'm all about minimal cultivation. But you gotta do something about that bulk density.

I hear you have a city slicker visiting you.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I would love it if ramps became a cash crop! Not only would it be cool, but also it leaves you lots of time to wander about a wakening mountain (and a slumbering mountain, and a wide-open, vibrant mountain) throughout the rest of the year. :)