News from Belly Acre Farm

The weather finally cooperated enough for me to do some work on the garden plot. This year has been cold and wet, so it’s been hard on the farm. The fall vegetables I planted — assorted greens, onions, and broccoli — have never taken off the way they did the year before in my backyard garden. In fact, most of the plants are barely alive and don’t look as if they’d yield even a leaf or two to eat. As a result, if we had depended on eating what we grew this winter, things would be pretty grim by now. I’m leaving them for now to see if they perk up.

Anyway, I spent yesterday morning at the farm using my new 30-year-old Ariens Rocket tiller, or the mule as I call it. Having the mule changes things considerably: overhead is up a little, because of repair costs and gasoline. The garden is bigger this year, and crops will be spread out a little further to accommodate the mule. I don’t anticipate using it for routine weeding, but you never know when I’ll need to drive between rows to prepare successive crops.

It’s still a little early for most planting, but I did plant a short row of potatoes. I’ll add two more varieties in a few days when the seed potatoes I ordered arrive. This first batch is the remnants of a bag of Russets we bought at the grocery store. I’ve read that grocery store potatoes are fine as long as they haven’t been sprayed with chemicals to prevent them from sprouting. These potatoes self-selected by sprouting heavily in our pantry, so I decided it wouldn’t hurt to plant them.

Some folks around here have already started planting corn and a few other warm season crops. Dad used to do that, too. He said that seed is cheap, so you haven’t lost much if a late freeze wipes out the first planting. But if it grows, you’ll have early “roast’n’ ears.”

In spite of the wisdom of that argument, I’ve decided to wait until a bit later for planting corn. I didn’t have much success with my corn crop last year, so I’m not in the mood for gambling.

I had planned to put out some snow peas in my backyard garden, but I haven’t managed to get any seeds yet and it’s actually getting a little late for snow peas. They don’t deal with heat very well.

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