This summer has presented many unexpected challenges and many opportunities to roll with it as farmers must, while we get Spring Forth Farm off the ground (or into it). After the record June rainfall, the ground finally dried out enough for the equipment to be able to get in to pull stumps, the day before we left on a 2 1/2 week vacation months in the making. Once the stumps were carried off, we started breaking sod with a tiller we rented… until it developed a fuel problem and conked out on us. We will be ready to tackle the tiller again after a much-needed getaway, and we are excited about bringing you beautiful cut flowers and fresh veggies as soon as we’re able.
Here is how the land looked earlier in the clearing process:
Clearing land at Orchard Hill Children’s School.
The land cleared, with a few stumps to pull out and some tilling to do.
To prepare for clearing, we had to mow:
The land, ready for stump-pulling.
Finally, the stumps were knocked over…
The backhoe made quick work of the stumps.
The roots came out easily.
…And carried away, leaving the land clear:
With the stumps pulled, it started looking like farmable land.
We were able to do a first pass with the tiller before it conked out:
Once the stumps were carried off, we started to till. It was tough work to break the sod layer.
Here’s how the land looked when we left. Most had a first pass with the tiller, but when the tiller conked out, we called it a day, too.
And we’re ready and excited to get back to work as soon as we get back!
This summer has been the wettest in memory. May was cool and damp. Then June thunderstorms dumped ten inches of rain – seven more than normal. And the rain has not let up in the first weeks of July. Severe thunderstorms have caused damaging flash floods, and the wet weather has hit NC farmers hard, causing major crop losses.
Farmers must just make make the best of the weather, and we’re no different. Clearing land for Spring Forth Farm has been set back. The trees that grew in or next to the field are gone, but their stumps remain. It was too wet for the tractor last week, and it is too wet again tomorrow. So for now the land looks like this, empty but not clear. We’re praying for dry weather so we can get to work. In the meantime, we’ve ordered some of the seed, we’re collecting materials and equipment, and we’re continuing to work out some of the business details that are part of the start-up process.
Jonathan and I are in the process of cleaning up the land that we will start growing on this fall. Clearing is a joint effort between us and the owners of the property. We are cutting down saplings and tulip poplars around the edge of the garden to increase the amount of light the garden gets throughout the day. This is hard work and sure puts clearing land by hand in perspective. Here are some pictures of the clearing in process. Somehow, projects always “look” worse right before they get better. After clearing, the stumps will be pulled out, then we are planning to till with a roto-tiller. Then we will build beds, plant the fall garden and winter cover crops, and plan for the 2014 season.