Our fields here are split between the lower fields, in the flats along the river, and an upper field, by the house/barn. Even on our little 49 acres, the soils vary dramatically from coarse shale to a fine sandy loam to rainbows of silt loams to a narrow slice of nasty, gooey clay. Our earliest fields—the ones that drain out and warm up the first in spring—are adjacent to the house. They’ve been in hay, though, which means that even though the soil is ready, the fields are full of vigorously growing sod and alfalfa. That stuff is really hard to kill, and it has to be dead and broken down before vegetables can start growing.
We’d been planning on not putting any cash crops in these upper hay fields this season, giving us plenty of time to transition the sod into annual ground. Our lower fields, though, still haven’t dried out enough to responsibly plow, so we’ve been itching to tackle the alfalfa so we can get something going. Last weekend the upper ground was ready, the tractor was in the barn… and the plow was 3 hours away, sitting in a lot where we’d won it at auction. We didn’t expect there to be a plow we wanted at that auction, and we don’t own a trailer (we rely on the life-saving generosity of JP and Jody at Roxbury), so we attended the auction trailer-less. As luck would have it, Luke scored a nice little Oliver plow for a song… and the next morning it started raining and rained for 3 days.
A couple of warm sunshiney days dried up the field, though, and this afternoon we finally got into the ground. We’re both still nervous about the heaviness of our lower fields, but this field next to the house is going to be a joy to grow in. Hopefully it will finally get springy and we can get going!