Tuesday, 1 September 2015

No lightweight backpacking here...

Initially quite an exciting looking job, until it dawns just how sloowly you have to walk. 
The prodigious heat coming out the back makes for warming work all the same, hence the stylish shorts / wellies at dusk combo...

This patch of ground was given a final pre sowing cultivation about two weeks ago.

Then the fast growing opportunistic seedling weeds have germinated into the  undisturbed soil. So in theory there should be no more coming up here after this. 

The seeds of the intended crop (Coriander) were sown five days ago. so they should just be  a couple of days away from emerging themselves. It really does help to know the germination time for the crop you've sown.

Its very satisfying to see your intended crop coming up into a totally clean seed bed a day or so after you've completed this operation. Timing is key...

The 5 gas burners under the trolley hood boil the cells in the weed leaves just enough to make them wilt. (we are not trying to carbonise everything)

 The weeds die off , in order that the crop comes up unchallenged into clean ground; that's assuming  I've got the timing right...
There's a nifty trick of upending a polythene box (ice- cream container?) over a section of the sown crop, and checking under there for crop emergence; which should happen a day or two earlier under those favoured conditions.

This might strike as not the most environmentally friendly operation perhaps, it is heavy on gas usage, but perhaps better than herbicides?

More cost effective certainly, in terms of labour than hand weeding. I would estimate weeks of in-the-row- hand weeding has been saved in the main crop carrots; over the years.

There is no perfect answer if you're trying to make a realistic living at this.

Note mid 1980's rucksack  (vintage now?) for 10kg gas bottle; my first proper back pack...Pink and Green as was all the rage back then.

Oh, and confessions of further 'Eco crimes'...I imported this machine from some Stateside Evangelical types. I seem to recall there were some 'educational' pamphlets in amongst the packaging. 

The Americans seem to be better at fabricating just the required size stuff for this scale of growing; often arising from cottage manufacturers who have identified their own need an thence gone into production.

 Over here its far more often either Big Farm or small garden; not so much on offer for us medium scale growers.

 There's a manufacturing opportunity waiting for someone.

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