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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22nd and 25th: Chisel Plow

The Chisel Plow



This implement is one of the coolest I use I think.  It is borrowed from a friend in Bowdoinham maybe once a year, or every other year.  It could also be called a "subsoiler" and the general idea of the tool is to break up the "hard pan" or the impermeable layer of soil created from working the soil to the same depth over and over and over.



The chisel is about 18" long and 1 1/2 inches thick and wicked heavy.  It cuts right down through the earth leaving a very small trench way down so that water has a way to travel through the soil rather than being stuck in the field by the hard pan--kind of like a bath tub. 

I usually chisel plow in the fall so frost heaving can break the pan up even more.  In a wet spring like this, breaking up that subsoil is important so excess water has a way to exit.  Even so, some of my fields are still just on the edge of being able to work and plant.  If I go into the soil too early, it compacts the soil particles together and then when they dry it is literally like concrete.  Worms and other soil microorganisms tend to not like to live in concrete so I try to avoid that.  But alas we are slowly getting plants into the ground.  Yesterday we planted 1000 new strawberry plants for harvest in 2013 and over the weekend we planted 20 flats of leeks, broccoli, lettuce, kale and tat soi. 

Wow it has been a crazy and hectic week and I hope to share some of these events with you but I am afraid to jinx myself so I am going to wait : )  Until then, enjoy the harvest!

This Week's Harvest: various greens (spinach, lettuce mix, arugula?...?), scallions, chives, rhubarb and asparagus.

Next week?  I am not sure yet.  Sometimes, especially early in the season, it will be hard to predict--we may not even have a pick up so we can let things grow.  But I will let you know.

Recipes:

We'll let Ms. Stewart give you the skinny on rhubarb this week.

http://www.marthastewart.com/275393/rhubarb-recipes/@center/276955/seasonal-produce-recipe-guide#/264427

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