The Disc Harrow
This is another of my favorite tools. We use this quite a bit in the early spring to break up the ground after winter and chop up any cover crops (organic matter) that is sitting on the soil. There are two "gangs" (rows of discs) on this tool which can be moved independently of each other. Moving them allows more or less soil to be moved around when in use. If we are trying to aggressively kill a live plant or turn up the soil we move it to have the disc at sharp angles. If we are are using this to smooth soil out or to gently cover cover crop seed we just planted, we move the discs so they are in line with the tractor.
The bonus about this tool (verses a rototiller) is that it is much more gentle on the soil, worms and microbes. Of course I still need to be sure the soil is not too wet, otherwise I can get some pretty nasty clumps of soil out there that dry into concrete and never break up. Another plus is that this implement is ground driven, meaning it moves by running on the ground. There are no gears to grease or oil to change and its moving parts are minimally the discs--very easy maintenance. The down side to this tool, is that I still need to use the tiller to prep the beds for seeding or transplanting. Even though it breaks the soil up nice and I love the way a field looks after we have disced it, the harrow just does not make the beds smooth enough. I wanted to take a photo of before and after I worked the soil today, or even an action shot, but the lightening stole my thunder and pushed me to get off the tractor....
Storms are moving through this week. A little rain is welcome. The bit of warmth really livened up the fields and some things are really starting to look beautiful. The peas are about ready to harvest and this week you will find some new veggies to choose from...besides lettuce : ) There are still a few strawberries left, although after these days of rain, I don't know how long they will last. Raspberries are right around the corner though!
This Week's Harvest: lettuce, chinese cabbage, gold ball turnips with greens, arugula, garlic scapes and beet greens
Let us eat LETTUCE!!! I hope you are not tired of it yet. I am doing my part--eating a HUGE salad as I type. Check out this website for some ideas beyond salads: http://dancinggecko.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/10-tasty-lettuce-recipes/
Gold Ball Turnips: Although these turnips are little more "turnippy" than the Hakuries they are pretty darn good. Try sauteeing them with their greens and the garlic scapes. Or roasting them...or making turnip soup with turnip greens: http://waywardseed.com/products/recipes/detail-turnip-soup.html
Chinese Cabbage (aka Napa cabbage): This cabbage is very light and crispy. We like to chop it on top of burritos! You may eat it raw or cooked. http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/809695/8-things-to-do-with-napa-cabbage
Beet Greens: Rinse 'em good and chop 'em up! (the whole thing, ignore when recipes say to remove the stems). A simple saute with garlic scapes rock or try one of these recipes: http://www.mnn.com/food/recipes/blogs/5-recipes-for-beet-greens