Crops are progressing nicely. After the first round of planting in April, we finished planting all of the rest of the crops by the end of May. We even had our very first harvest of triticale at the end of May.
10 candid observations/lessons from our first spring/early summer season:
- 18 crops may be too much (which will bloom into many more crops when we add cover crops in the fall).
- Weed control in some of the small plots has been a challenge.
- We had very good luck getting crops to emerge even with an unusually dry spring. The gourds were our poorest emergers, but we planted them by hand and may not have been as precise on seeding depth as we were on other crops.
- We may need to “invest” in our own planter and drill for the future. It is challenging to get/expect custom operators to come so many different times. We were timely this season but would have preferred to spread out planting more than it ended up.
- 4 acres is A LOT of sweet corn!
- Sunflowers planted on May 1 get tall, and flowers develop in about 70 days.
- Triticale leaves the soil very “hard” after harvest. Second crop soybeans are a challenge to plant and get uniform emergence without a row crop planter or a drill with a no till caddy.
- If we get a drill, we must have a small seed box. Mixing small seeds with companion crops in the large seed box did not produce acceptable results.
- Wheat and oats are not ready for harvest at the same time. (see #4 but exchange the words planter and drill with combine)
- Thank goodness for Sophia Hortin (Clearview Farm’s intern) and all of the people at TAG that have helped make this project possible. It would not have been a success without their help!
By Jim Goss, Clearview Farm Manager