Category Archives: Seasons

Always Three Eggs in a Nest

Mid-July Farm Report from Ben

Dare I say it’s a quiet time around the farm. The Co-op is done spraying, I don’t have hay to put up, oats is coming but not quite there yet, and I’ve got weeds and brush mowed.

We almost had another hot air balloon landing in the fields. I was out doing my chicken chores and heard it and could see it through the trees and it looked pretty low. Kelly and I headed up there and met the chase vehicle coming down. The balloon was pretty high again at that point and still moving East. The driver said he had considered landing here and I guess they were coming to ask permission. I don’t know if they just didn’t get here in time or what, but the balloon moved on. It was a different balloon company so it wouldn’t have counted in my 3 landings = free ride anyway.

One of our favorite nieces, her husband, and 9 month old baby came to visit from South Carolina. Her mom and dad are still here, and the baby got to see Great Grandma Hain and we had a real nice visit with them.

Four generations here. As luck would have it, our son and his wife were able to come down too, so the cousins had a good visit. The Niece always talks about the wild black raspberries that grow out here and she remembers picking them when she was a kid visiting Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. There was a lot of berries this year and they lasted a long time. Just not quite long enough for their visit. I did get a few fresh berries for her. They sure are good.

I did get the waterways and pastures mowed with the rear mounted brush hog. I was down in one of the pastures cutting brush and clearing that darn buckthorn when one of the big spinny things underneath fell off. Oh. That’s a problem. I just unhooked it and walked away for the moment. The main shaft out of the gear box sheared off. I looked up parts online; $600 for the shaft. Plus, whatever bearings, seals or other bits might be needed… I was rather discouraged. I’ll fix it. Later.

I did get the new and improved loader bucket back from my nephew the welder. I don’t have the loader on the tractor right now; I took it off for mowing, and will leave it off for baling straw, then I’ll put it back on. I should give it a new coat of John Deere Green.

There were a few comments on the driveway in the last blog. From the main highway to our house is 1.3 miles. The first .4 miles though is technically a township road, and the snowplow will come in our road about a 100 yards to turn around in a cell phone tower driveway. It’s easier for them than trying to turn around where our driveway starts. The road forks right there and our lovely neighbors are on the right fork, we’re on the left fork. There’s a hill their driveway that’s given a lot of people trouble over the years. You think our driveway is bad, you should see theirs! Our road is longer, theirs is steeper. Both are beautiful drives, just scary in the winter. We both joke, you can always get home, and if you can get out, you can probably get wherever you’re goingI do have a 7’ blower that mounts on the back of the tractor, so I have to go backwards when blowing. The last few years I’ve been using a rear blade if it’s just a few inches of snow. Quicker, faster, and my neck doesn’t hurt when done. But that also makes a pile of snow on the edge of the road that will drift in sooner. So eventually I have to put the blower on and cut those down again.

It’s interesting when I collect eggs, the chickens seem to like the number 3. Often the nest boxes will have 3 eggs in them. There might be more or less, but more often than not, multiple boxes will have three eggs in them. It’s curious.

After 18 months of very little theater, I’m back in full force. I have two shows to open in three weeks. Afternoons this week is working at the Rochester Civic Theatre for a Rochester Repertory Theatre production of ‘Turn of the Screw’.

Then next week is tech for ‘The Addams Family’ down in Chatfield for Wit’s End Theater. Somewhere in here I’ll be cutting oats and baling straw too.

I talked about the helicopter spraying a couple weeks ago? A helicopter crashed about 20 miles East of here while spraying crops. They think he flew under an electric line and snagged one of the wires. The pilot was killed. A newspaper article says “accidents are not uncommon”. Don’t know if it was the same company or anything. It’s terribly sad.

Hot weather or Cold Weather? How many eggs did you eat today?

Farm Report – Early July

The corn made knee high by the fourth of July.

It’s as high as a small elephant’s eye. There have been a few years the corn was only knee high on the fourth and those were extremely wet years and it was planted very late.

Beans are coming along and looking good. Oats is just starting to turn color. The green is fading and it’s turning yellow as it matures and dries out. Now I worry about storms and high winds knocking it down; we want rain, not storms.

We keep scouting the crops, watching stages of development and looking for diseases or insects. Beans can get aphids that affect yield. But we don’t spray for them unless it hits an ‘economic threshold’; the point where the cost of the damage from the pests would be greater than the cost of the spraying. That’s about 250 aphids / plant. It’s been a few years since I sprayed for aphids, it doesn’t happen very often. 

The corn I like to watch as the brace roots emerge – extra roots that come out to help stabilize it as it gets taller.

I found a few places where corn plants are still emerging after all these weeks. They’re too far behind the rest to amount to much; the ear most likely won’t fully develop or be dry enough by fall, but it’s pretty amazing the seed still grew this long after planting and being in the ground all that time!

We are delighting in the warm summer nights and enjoying the fireflies over the crops. They’re always such a treat to watch. Some of us like the “warm” part better than others of us. Growing Degree Units are up – 355 over normal.

I mentioned the helicopter spraying at the neighbors. I’ve always been fascinated with helicopters, so it was fun to watch that operation. I’ve been in a helicopter a couple times; Many years ago I took a helicopter tour over Gettysburg Battle grounds and just a few years ago a helicopter tour over Charleston SC. That was fun. 

One night, Kelly was taking a walk and she texted me that a hot air balloon was pretty low. We’ve had a few balloons land in our fields, but usually it’s winter and there’s no crops to worry about. It was a very still night and this guy had lost all his wind and was really just hanging there. I drove up and met his chase crew. I told him if he could at least get to the edge of a field and not land in the middle I’d be happy with that. He said he would do his best. And he did. He managed to get to a water way (just a grassy area) to land and the crew dragged him over to the road. Always fun to see them. If they land 3 times on the farm I get a free ride. It hasn’t happened so far. 

Still fixing things, had a flat tire on the lawnmower, which isn’t surprising given the areas I’m mowing. I couldn’t find a hole, so I took the tire apart and couldn’t find anything inside either, so bought a bottle of ‘Slime’ and put that inside and it worked! Plugged up the hole! (‘Slime’ is a green, thick, goop, you squirt inside a tire and it’s supposed to plug up holes and prevent new holes. I’d heard of it before, but never tried it.) I just bought a second bottle. If this works, I might be sold on it!

Working on the grain drill too. It needed some bushings on the arms that support the press wheels and a couple new bearings in the press wheels (they press the seed into the dirt for good ‘seed-to-soil’ contact.) Plus, one of the actual seed cups had been broken since I bought it. Wasn’t really hard to fix, but it was 44 little ¼” bolts and it takes two people. I have a college kid, Khalid, that is helping me with that. Waiting on parts to finish that project.

I also took the bucket off the loader and have it over at my nephew, Matt’s. He’s a welder and got his own shop going as a side business. The loader bottom was bent because I work it too hard. And it’s also 20 years old and it has pushed a lot of trees over. He tried to straighten the bottom, but it couldn’t be repaired so he got a new piece of steel for that and I ordered a new cutting edge from the dealer. Half the price of a new bucket and this will be better than new. [photo]

I bought another funnel at Menards. ¬¬Funnels are a mystery. I have a dozen different funnels and still didn’t have one that will hit the transmission oil filler on the lawnmower. Although this one today might! I even bought a funnel with a right angle on it and that wouldn’t reach either. Some funnels have too big of a funnel end. Some are too long that they’re awkward. Some are too narrow and the thick oil won’t flow through. Some are metal, some are plastic, some are tapered to one side, some are flexible but never the way I need them to be.

It doesn’t seem like it should be this hard, but I guess it is. You think “I’ll just get a funnel for this”, and then it doesn’t work. I got two flexible folding funnel things. Silicone and moldable, made to fit in wherever you can squeeze it. Sometimes that’s the right tool. I tell the kids a lot, “Every new job is an opportunity for a new tool”.

Helicopter ride? Hot air balloon ride? What’s the craziest/most fun thing you’ve ridden in? 

Committing Thuricide, or, a GARDENer’s Anxiety

Husband and I are traveling to Tacoma, WA on Monday to see our Daughter. We will be gone for a week. This week we are prepping our gardens for our absence, watering like crazy and taking care of any garden pest and disease issues.

Due to the lack of humidity and the isolation on the Northern Great Plains, we have a comforting lack of pests and diseases in our gardens. We rarely need to combat anything, but there are a few persistent garden problems that require action.

We somehow have blight problems in our tomatoes and roses that require an application of fungicide. I sprayed with Daconil last night. Last year, we had flea beetles in our kohlrabies that required insecticide. I applied some Sevin to some chewed up kohlrabi plants last night. The potted tomatoes and peppers in the church garden need something called Rot Stop to combat Blossom End Rot. (Calcium uptake in a pot is difficult at times.) We also have cabbages that need help with cabbage worms with Thuricide, or Bacillus Thuringiensis, which is an organic worm deterrent. No worms in our Savoy cabbages!

How do you deal with life’s pests, garden or otherwise?

6 rms, rIv vu

We have two, 50 ft. tall spruce trees in our front yard that are full of birds and their nests. The Collared Doves begin the nesting season, followed by robins, then sparrows, finches, and Warbling Vireos. Chickadees and wrens make their presence known. We feed the birds sunflower seeds in the back yard, but not in summer. Still, our trees are full of birds all year. I wonder how they choose our trees and yard? There are tall trees all around, yet we have lots of birds. I suppose the grapes, hazelnuts, raspberries, strawberries, and currants in the yard are a draw.

I was in a rather fanciful mood the other day and imagined a bird real estate agent trying to sell bird condos in our trees. What would they say?

High rise living with ample food supply in the cold weather. Luxury summer garden worms. Indoor cat brushed outside, leaving fur for nesting. All the comforts of home. Good opportunities for subletting. No squirrels allowed.

The blog title, by the way, is from a Broadway play from the 1970’s. I have no idea why it came to mind.

How would a bird real estate agent list your yard? What are your experiences buying property?

A Delight to the Eyes

Our hot weather retreated last week, and by Friday it had cooled off substantially. Gentle rains came, and I stood at the front door on Saturday watching the rain fall straight down, with no wind, which is rare here. It was a delight to watch.

Our roses are blooming, and the garden veggies are looking strong and healthy. We weeded all over our flower and veggie beds, laying down newspapers and covering them with dirt to keep the weeds minimized for the season. The absence of weeds is so lovely, and the plants stand out and look really nice. I had forgotten how pretty eggplant plants are. There are visual delights all around. I just have to remind myself to look for them.

What has delighted your senses lately?

Silly Garden

We started out the garden year hopeful, but restrained, planning to reduce the number of tomato plants to eight, shorten the kohlrabi row, and stick to twelve pepper plants and the same number of peas, beans, cabbages, beets, and herbs from last year. We agreed on two hills of cantaloupes.

We neglected to factor in Husband’s anxiety. He is in charge of our church vegetable garden, and we have had to replant some things there due to extreme wind and unfavorable conditions. Husband is always planning for the worst, and that means that he scouts out bedding plants and seeds “just in case” we have to replant. Of course, he always purchases many times the number of replacement plants that he needed. I have taken excess bedding plants the work three times to pawn them off on my coworkers

At the present time, in our home garden we have fourteen tomato plants, fourteen pepper plants, and a bush cucumber plant (“Renee, those cucumber plants needed good homes”). There are six eggplants stuck in odd places in a flower bed on the south side of the house, five hills of cantaloupes, and three butternut squash plants. It looks very silly, with the odd vegetable stuck here and there quite haphazardly. I was lucky to find eight dozen Ball canning jar lids on Amazon, preparatory to what could be a real avalanche of produce needing to be canned.

When have you had too much of a good thing? How does anxiety make you do silly things? When have your plans not worked out like you wished?

Crop Report

Today’s post comes from Ben.

As I write this we’ve had an inch of rain and the temps are cooling. Sometimes we call them “Million Dollar Rains”, this one was a $100,000 rain.

The first few weeks after planting, I spend a lot of time driving around checking on fields. Crop Scouting is really important the first month, and then throughout the summer, but the first few weeks is when we learn the most.

Just like your gardens, we’re watching to see how things are growing and what weeds are coming.

I’m generalizing here; every farm is different and different parts of the country plant different. I mentioned before, the corn was planted at a population of 33-34,000 plants / acre. So, there should be a plant about every 6”. Two together is a ‘double’, and a blank space is a ‘skip’ and that tells me how the planter is working and what I may need to fix for next year. And where there are skips, I might dig it up and see, is there a seed down there that didn’t germinate? Maybe it germinated but didn’t emerge; it’s all very telling. And then the first few inches it grows, it’s so interesting to see how the root develops.

Corn just fascinates me; the seed actually stays in the ground and the root goes down, the stalk comes up and the ‘growing point’ stays underground for a long time. That’s why a freeze or hail won’t necessarily kill a corn plant. Whereas soybeans; it’s the seed that comes up out of the ground. So, if it freezes, it’s done.

This website has taught me a lot about corn development:

http://www.soilcropandmore.info/crops/Corn/How-Corn-Grows/

This year, with the hard rain, soil crusting, and then cool weather and wet weather, I lost a lot of corn that didn’t emerge. And yet when I compare fields planted after the rain to those planted before, it all looks just as rough. It was kind of a mystery to me and I kept thinking it’s was  rather unfortunate this was the year I got so much planted on the first day (because of the hard rain). And then NATE,  one of my seed salesman came and looked at the corn. IT’S NOT MY FAULT! YAY! Turns out this particular variety had trouble this year. There are dozens of varieties of seed and most are tested pretty well to judge how it will do with drough tolerance or pest resistance, ect. Guess this one hadn’t been tested for this year’s weather. When I measure out 17’6” (1/1000ths of an acre) and count the plants, that gives us an estimate of the final stand population. I’m counting between 23 and 26 plants. 23,000 plants is a lot less than 34,000. Do the math: missing 11,000 ears, 200 ears = one bushel = 55 bushels less / acre. In a good year I get 160 bushels / acre. I’m thinking the ears will be bigger this year since they’ll have less competition and more sunlight…. ?? J

If I had decided to replant the corn, they would have given me seed to replant free of charge. But I decided there was enough plants there that it didn’t make sense to replant. So, they will refund the cost of my seed. I still paid for fertilizer and spraying so those expenses are already in the ground. And it’s not like there won’t be any crop (Knock on wood; we’re not there yet) but it just won’t be the bushels it should have been.

I’ve been taking lots of photos, but the camera doesn’t capture it very well.

Just notice the leaves curled up from the heat and lack of rain. Notice the uneven stands, the varieties of green color. The deer eating the tops. This corn is thigh high. Now with the rain it will be doubling in height quickly.

Oats has just headed out; looks like a lot of grain out there. Again, noticethe shades of green… it should all be dark green and I’m not quite sure why it’s so uneven this year. It’s a new variety for me, and maybe that’s what this one looks like. See the strips of dark green that’s taller than the rest? That’s where the PTO shaft on the fertilizer spreader broke and it was making a ‘streak’ of fertilizer.

Things to watch now: as the oats starts to turn color and get ripe, the stalks get brittle. Storms can knock it down, break it in half or even lay it flat. When trying to cut it, broken or flat makes it hard to pick up to cut. There is a fungus called ‘rust’ that can hit oats hard. Makes it brown and dusty and more brittle than usual. I have the corn sprayed to prevent that. Just as the kernels emerge, that’s called the ‘boot stage’.

Soybeans are looking OK. See this one field that looks like a lawn? Just all green? That’s a field I plant for a neighbor; he just uses it as a food plot. I didn’t have that one sprayed with ‘pre-emerge’ grass control like I did on my fields. It was my control field. See the rows on the others? With out the pre-emerge spray, they’d all be solid grass. Definitely a benefit to that. Then later I have it sprayed for ‘broadleaves’ and volunteer corn. I used the drill to plant the beans and I said they were sort of ‘clumpy’; you can see that in these photos. Again, it’s doing OK, seed spacing isn’t as critical for beans.

I mowed the roadsides last week. Got 50 bales of grass hay off that. Some neighbors will take that.

Mowed down in the woods for another neighbor. He’s been clearing buckthorn and it looks really nice down there now.

Also mowed an area I call ‘The Swamp’ since it was so dry. Turns out it wasn’t as dry as I thought…

Do you play the lottery? What’s the biggest prize you’ve won?

Early May

Today’s post comes from Ben.

Mid June. It’s dry, we need some rain. Corn is curling up from the heat. My crops look terrible this year. Corn was planted a little light in the first place, then it didn’t emerge well, and now it’s dry and the deer are eating it… GDU’s: 946 to date, +291 above normal.

Oat’s is just about to head out, in fact it will be by the time you read this, – seems later than some varieties, and this is a new variety for me so… I guess it’s OK; better not to be headed out when it was so hot, the heat just boils the milk out of the heads anyway.

I told Kelly the crops are all in that adolescent stage and they all look terrible. Corn is knee high already, well, some of it.

Soybeans are getting there, look OK when you look down the row, then I look across the field and see all the skips and misses and it looks terrible again.

Back in blogworld, I finished planting soybeans on May 10th. That’s ahead of most years. Some years I’m still working on corn at that point.

When planting any crops, the trick is to have just enough seed to finish, without having too much left over to clean out of the planter. Soybeans are easy because the rows don’t really matter for harvesting, so I can just drive any which way in the field to run out the seed. Remember I had plugged up every two rows? I pulled the tape off and planted at 7” rows just to use up the seed. Once around the outside of one field did it. Oats is the same. I mean I try to figure it so there’s not a lot left in the first place, then just run it empty.

Corn is a little harder as the rows have to line up. I save the left over seed to use next year and the unopened bags can be returned to the dealer.

After planting soybeans, some guys run over them with a large roller, to smooth the field. Soybeans make a pod clear down at the ground, so at harvest, you want to cut as low as possible without picking up rocks or running too much dirt into the combine. Rolling the field pushes down rock and levels out any lumps to make combining easier.

I don’t have a roller. But I have a drag and decided to try that. Haven’t used it in 20 years. And I half expected when I pulled it out of the weeds it would just disintegrate. But no, it held together, and I ran it over all my bean acres. It did help smooth things out.  

Time to clean up machinery.

I feel like I’m making dumb mistakes again. Got the pressure washer out and had a tip plugged up. I’m supposed to remember to check them before I start. But I didn’t. So now it’s all pressurized and I can’t get anything apart. I should have let it sit for a few minutes and the pressure would bleed off and I could get it apart. But I got in a hurry. Using pliers and a hammer I got the ‘quick connector’ apart and the tip shot into the air and it never came down. I put on a different tip (I have three different tips that are different spray widths), I didn’t get this one snapped in right and when I pulled the trigger, it shot it off somewhere over by the feed room and I haven’t found it yet. Sigh.

The third tip was plugged up and I WAS smart enough to let the pressure drain before I took it off and got it to the shop and cleaned out. I’m trying foam wash this year. Also tried ‘Simply Green’ cleaner. Not sure how much they help but it all smells better.

Cleaned out fertilizer wagon, washed the grain drill, and the corn planter. There are lots of nooks and crannies to get into. Made notes of things worn out that will need to be replaced before planting next year. I had a minor leak on a hydraulic hose that was spraying a little oil on the back of the tractor. By the time I finished planting, the back of the tractor was covered with oily dirt.

The next day I had some township stuff in the morning. Paul, one of the other township supervisors, and I picked up garbage someone had dumped in a ditch, and we looked at some culverts. Paul works for crop insurance and we talked about how some guys were using a rotary hoe on their corn. A ‘rotary Hoe’ is one of those tools you only need to use about once every 10 years. This would have been the year to have one. I have a really old one; it doesn’t actually help much. And I was afraid the corn was already too tall.  

Saw Orioles one day; Put the oriole feeder and hummingbird feeder out. Haven’t seen the Orioles again. But we have two Hummingbirds that are often at the feeder. Maybe there’s more than two, but I have seen two at the same time.

At the front door we have a pair of barn swallows. We really enjoy them and their chirps and their flight patterns. They have a nest to the left of the front door. Now they have a nest to the right of the door, too. And both nests are occupied. I wonder if it’s parents and kids??

They do make a poopy mess, but we put cardboard down and they’re pretty tolerant of us coming and going.

Finally got .22 inches of rain on the 19th. And from then until May 29th we had 2.5”. And since then, hot and dry. No wonder the corn looks so rough. It sure looked bad after that frost. And the uneven emergence didn’t help anything.

Finally cleaned out the tractor cab too. By this time, there’s quite a collection of ‘Nutty Bar’ wrappers, and dirty paper towels. And some tools, and golf balls, and whatever else I’ve picked up in the fields.

I carry a little whisk broom (a trick I learned from a youtube farmer) Millennial Farmer, Zach Johnson,

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp0rRUsMDlJ1meYAQ6_37Dw

Next week I’ll do an up to date crop report.

Do you have any cleaning tricks? How bad do you let things go before you clean?

Planting Corn

This week’s farm report comes to us from Ben.

Been having some nice rain the last few days. Over an inch now, plus the heat and humidity and we’re almost 200 Growing Degree Units (GDU’s) above normal. I figured we were behind, but we got that warm weather back in April. Crops have almost all emerged, and things are off to a good start.

Back in Blogworld, It’s the end of April and I’m just about to start planting corn. The wild leeks are up so I’ve been nibbling on them. Oats is just coming up, anhydrous fertilizer (nitrogen) is done, planting is next. My brother, Ernie comes out and drives the 8200 tractor and the soil finisher to get fields prepped. He says it’s the first time he’s driven a tractor since he was 18. He joked it was still just as boring going around and around. Plus, it’s hard to get run over by the tractor when you’re in a cab. (Hold that thought.)

I’ve been clearing edges of the fields with the 6410 tractor and loader. We have so many box elder trees and brush and weeds that come in from the edges, it’s a constant effort to keep the edges open or we lose them back to nature. Every year I go around and knock down the big branches, but sometimes I spend time literally pushing back everything, 7’ at a time, (the width of the loader bucket) back and forth, back and forth. Ernie thinks fieldwork is boring? But it’s good to get it done.

Back in the fall of 1968, Ernie was using a John Deere 720 tractor and a 3 bottom plow and his long jacket got caught by the tractor tire and pulled him off the tractor. The 720 is an open tractor and we’d often stand up when driving them. He got pulled off the tractor into the freshly plowed ground, right in front of the rear wheel. The rear tire went right over his chest, and he rolled out of the way before the plow got to him. My parents had just built the new house that summer and they were working on that and painting the roof trim when someone commented that the tractor was going in circles and Ernie was chasing it. Dad ran over there and somehow, they caught the tractor. Took Ernie to the clinic and he was fine; doctors couldn’t believe he was really run over, but he had the dirt on his shirt to prove it. They figure the soft dirt is what saved him. Plus, the tractor wasn’t that big or heavy. Another instance of luck or miracles to grace our family.

I took the loader off the tractor, order the corn starter fertilizer, get corn planter out and greased, get the fertilizer wagon ready, and make a trip to Plainview with Amelia and the dogs for the headlight bezel on the 6410. Pushing the trees off is hard on the tractor; I’ve broken a lot of little things doing that. And sometimes some pretty major things. But this year it was just the plastic bezel around the lights on the cab.

About 4:30PM I get out to plant. I have made some dumb mistakes in my life. Here’s another. The middle fertilizer tank auger is backwards. (My dad taught me to only put a little fertilizer in to start to be sure everything is working.) The tanks hold about 750 lbs each, so I fill it maybe half full or so. When planting corn, there’s a monitor to tell me seeds are coming out each row, and when I lift the planter on the ends, I look to be sure fertilizer is coming out the tubes. There’s a shaft I watch to make sure it’s turning because that’s what makes the fertilizer come out.

But if I put the auger in backwards fertilizer will not ever come out. At the end of planting season, I pull the shafts and augers out, clean and oil everything, and put them back. I try to keep everything lined up so it goes back the right way. And normally, I look in there and make sure they’re all going the same way. Clearly, I forgot that step this time. So, I made 2 rounds to use up some fertilizer, then use 5 gallon buckets to shift some fertilizer from the middle tank to the right, and put the left fertilizer in buckets, because I have to slide the left auger out, and then the middle one out through the left tank to reverse it. Remember back on oats and the shaft broke and I dropped too much fertilizer in a row? Well, now these two middle rows won’t have any fertilizer and I’ll be able to see that too; the corn will miss a boost this starter fertilizer gives it.

A lot of guys are using liquid fertilizer these days. I still use dry; it’s just what I’m set up for. I have a 6 row planter. Small these days of 12, 18, 24 row, or bigger planters. So, I have three fertilizer tanks, each doing two rows

Kelly and Amelia and the dogs take a walk, when they come back Bailey comes across the field to find me so she can ride in the tractor. She’s such a sweetheart. 

Kelly comes out in the field with the gator and gets in the tractor and makes a couple rounds with me. There’s not an extra seat in the 6410 so riding along isn’t that comfortable. The 8200 has an “instructor seat” and it’s more comfortable riding along. Humphrey goes back home. I spend some time checking seed planting depth and spacing; all critical things to a good final yield. You want it about 2½” deep and about 6” apart.

(It’s not 6” deep, that’s just the way the ruler is laying).

The seed is treated, that’s why it’s blue / green to prevent bugs like corn root worm, soilborne and seedborne pathogens, and to keep it healthy if it sits in cold ground for a few weeks before it gets enough GDU’s to emerge. (It takes 100 -120 GDU’s to emerge) and this year it took a few weeks before it finally came out of the ground. The random red color seeds are the ‘refuge’ seeds to prevent corn borer resistance.  

I finish planting at 9:30 PM. Out of both seed and fertilizer. I had added six bags of seed, each bag holds 80,000 kernals. So, 6 times 80,000 kernels equals 480,000 divided by the 14 acres I planted means 33,500 seeds per acre which is a good planting rate.

After they start to emerge, if you measure out 17’6”, that will be 1 / 1000th of an acre and you count how many plants are in that length and that’s your final stand population.

Ever had a seed of an idea that blossomed into something?

Gardens Galore!

(Sorry picture is fuzzy – I don’t have the original….)

In the past ten days our yard has gone from the scourge of the neighborhood to the envy of everyone.  I don’t chop too much down in the fall on the theory that the old stalks and leaves hold onto water and protect the spring buds.  (I don’t know if this is actually true, but I cling to it… especially since I have trouble getting motivated for autumn gardening.)  YA and I have gotten everything cleaned up, spread about a ton of mulch (well, it feels that way, anyway) and turned our eyesore into a lovely garden.  The fact that the daffodils and tulips are in bloom on the boulevard doesn’t hurt!

As we’ve been working, I been looking at some of the plants that I’ve been lucky to receive from baboons on the trail.  Lovely hostas in the backyard from PJ, raspberry canes from Linda, a massive hosta display on the front boulevard from our tim and, of course, my lovely Prairie Smoke from LJB.  It’s made me think that although our baboon troop was initially brought together by music, we’ve also bonded over gardening.  Helping out PJ with her garden after the accident, the great chainsaw gathering at Steve’s, filling in Anna’s spot with various plants, Ben bringing us bales and poo, Jim providing seeds and loads of gardening talk over the years. 

As always, I’m grateful for all the fabulous friendship over music, books and gardening!

Any gardening projects in store for you?