Dry, Dry Here

This has been a perfect autumn stretch…sunny days have allowed us to get much of our garden bed preps done.  We opened a new patch this year and although it produced, you could tell the soil had been nothing but yard and box elder shade for years.  Things were a tad spindly.  Now it’s heavily dosed with shredded maple leaves and composted chicken manure, and two compost piles cooking beside it so there’ll be more dark brown goodness to add come spring.  Our friend Lori helped tuck over 100 garlic cloves in the other garden plot which has been likewise fluffed, stirred, and blanketed for the winter to come.

Much more to be done…have to pick corn, for one thing.  Will be doing that all by hand.  We’re already feeding the chickens right off the cob.  But the oats has been in for a long time now, and even a dash of wheat.  There’ll still be trips to the feed mill (a guy’s gotta go to the feed mill, if only to lean on the counter and talk smart!) (there’s me with my two hand-picked corn patches standing next to a guy who brings it in by the semi-full!) (I am in the boutique corn business), but it’ll be neat to wade out through the snow this winter and feed the chickens grain grown within sight of the coop.

The only drawback is that all this beautiful weather has dried things out so considerably that the winter wheat we’ve planted (in the new garden bed and also in next year’s corn patches) hasn’t sprouted.  It’s getting late, and nothing but little cartoon suns on the weather page…

I have one other dilemma.  After our neighbor plowed up a patch of long-fallow sod for us, I planted it to oats.  Everything went great until just before the oats was ready for harvest, at which point it rained for about two months straight.  It was never dry enough to take the oats (I fed much of it to the chickens green) and the weeds eventually just roared on past it all and I wound up chopping it down.  Now all of that oats has sprouted and I have a gorgeous field of dense green plants (weed-free) about six inches high.  A big old cushion.  Wondering if I should just let it freeze and till it in next spring, or till it all under now and plant winter wheat?  If I was putting corn there next year I’d do the winter wheat for sure, but we’re likely going to raise pigs on that patch, and if so we’ll be tilling it early in the spring to plant rape and field peas for the pigs to forage.  So I’m not sure there’s any reason to mess with the volunteer oats as it is.

There is also the issue of time.

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