Finally got rain at the end of a long week. Last Wednesday, normally our day off, turned into a seven hour evening shift when the 32 tonnes of lime arrived in the afternoon…we were just in town running some errands when we got the call. The truck driver was sitting on the highway, not sure whether to go North or South on Portugal Cove Road…we arrived with the truck on the farm, both of us running around in our bank appointment clothes and flip flops spreading tarps and directing the truck. After getting changed the two of us got about 3 tonnes of it spread onto Charles’s meadow with the tractor and a shovel. I spent the rest of the evening disking it all in.
The rest of the week was spent picking rocks and putting together the vegetable garden next to the store…summer and winter squash, cucumbers and tomatoes are in…all warm weather delicate crops now up against cool wet windy weather.
Weather, mind you, that is watering all the oat and clover seeded on both meadows on Monday…looking forward to seeing it sprout this week and being finished with the tractor for a few weeks!
A bit more seeding to do this week for the garden centre, planting more vegetables in the small garden and determining the location of the shed and building a foundation for it. Also have to plan for some crops like garlic that have to be planted this fall.
Yesterday I had a great visit with Leo White whose hobby is farming about a third of an acre or so on Broad Cove road…his secret is lots of peat…he’s amended his soil with hundreds of bails of it…it acts as his irrigation as he doesn’t have an irrigation system, just the rain. The peat soaks up the rain and holds on to it, releasing it as things get drier…as we’re experiencing at the moment. I also learned from him that planting carrots between the onions and garlic keeps off the carrot rust fly…an apparently big problem here. His experiments using coffee grounds to distract the fly proved unsuccessful. I learned a few other things from him too; I’m glad I sought him out after seeing him on CBC’s Land and Sea. Leo plans to be at the St. John’s farmers market selling his carrots, lettuce, onions and garlic in July.
Forecast is for rain this Thursday through Sunday! Too bad about the non-farmers long weekend plans…but great for me and Leo!
Who would think I would be praying for rain in Newfoundland??? Most Newfoundlanders would probably have me deported for even thinking it! But, I have two acres plowed and disked, over 200 pounds of oats and clover seed ready, and a brand new Earthway seed broadcaster to get it done, but no water. Not sure when I’ll get the irrigation pond dug and an irrigation system up in place, its not on my schedule, so I need rain…the forecast says maybe, in a week. Fingers crossed.
Yesterday was our “Sunday” of our weekend, but the pin I needed for tractor so I could start disking came in, as did the 32 tonnes of lime I ordered (I only needed 3 tonnes but to buy that amount I would have to buy by the bag, which would cost me over $1000, but through the governments subsidized lime program, I got 32 tonnes for under $1000. I won’t have to buy lime again for a decade!). Evan and I got the 3 tonnes spread, one shovel full at a time, then got the pile covered, while the wind blew plastic tarps and lime all over, then I started disking. Just before I finished, just one sliver left, the tractor overheated….steam and coolant blowing out from under the hood. I thought maybe I’d blown a line, but it just got too hot because of all the dandelion seed that was clogging the radiator screen. Must buy oat and clover seed today…
Finishing off Evan’s beer that he passed me for a sip…
So after plowing and looking at both meadows, we’ve decided to move the initial operation to Charles’s meadow. The soil is so much better and so is its exposure and access to electricity. An old pond is going to be opened back up about 300 feet from the south west corner of the field to give us access to water. We’ll use a gasoline powered pump and a 500 litre water tank as a reservoir.
Hmmm…now about all those fenceposts…
But not a mainlander! I came from Vancouver Island! My family has been raising livestock and growing huge vegetable gardens for generations. After sitting in an office too long, I started growing and selling vegetables at a friend’s farm, then my backyard in Victoria BC (that’s British Columbia, not behind Carbonear!). Now I’m here in Newfoundland due to ‘spousal relocation’ and taking up farming full time. I’m really excited when I’m not exhausted!
A little late getting this blog rolling along, but better late then never!
Evan and I (Brian) arrived in St. John’s during the May long weekend after a 10,500 km drive across North America. Whenever the weather gets us down, we can think of the ridiculous heat of Death Valley California to make us feel better about it.
I got started right away on the “back meadow”, now called Murray Meadow. The other meadow I’ve leased is known as Charles’s meadow…the name of the man the meadow was bought from in 1815 by the first Patrick Murray. Charles had settled and began clearing it around the turn of the 19th century.
Murray Meadow is fairly rocky and has a number of shallow-soiled areas. The rocks aren’t too bad though and can be cleared out of beds as they are being prepared. Its great advantage is its access to water.
Charles’s meadow has a richer soil and substantially less rocks. Unfortunately it has no access to easy water but it has a nice south easterly slope.
Plowing Charles’s meadow…didn’t beat the dandelions.
Like being in Birds! They were eating all my worms.
Both have been now been tilled, as of today, and I am having the soil sampled for ph and lime recommendations before planting a cover of oats and clover for the summer.
Fence posts are up around half of Murray Meadow. Hopefully it will keep the moose out, of which I’ve seen four. If its not high enough I will add a solar powered electric wire (see http://www.electrobraid.com/wildlife/reports/WicksReport2.html)
Lots to do this summer…lime, seed, finish fencing, build a shed, build a cart, put up hoophouses, cut down the cover etc etc etc.