Friday, May 10, 2013

Preparing the ground for potatoes

Today I finished breaking ground for a new plot on our land.  It's located on the northern side of our land.  It used to be part of the goat enclosure.  During the winter we added ashes to the area, hoping to amend the soil.

The ground was tough to work with.  I had to pry loose a great deal of rock ranging from gravel to miniboulders.  Some of that gravel was leftover from the temporary road built for our new septic system.  The big rocks are destined for our dry rock wall.

It took about five hours over two days:

Potatoes are what we plan to plant here, hence the particular design of these rows.  Each row is a trench, double-dug down about one shovel blade.  On either side is the removed soil (and smaller rocks); these will be incrementally returned to the trench over the course of the summer, hilling up the growing potato plants.  Eventually the pattern will be inverted, with earthy ridges where trenches are now.

It's deeply satisfying, hard work. It's rewarding to look back and see these spaces transformed.  I (Bryan) did this with my mp3 player, podcasts muttering in one ear.  Each prying loose of rock, each hefting of soil was accompanied by classic radio drama, Japanese history, or discourses on engineers.  The 21st century nestled with a much older practice, as with much of our lives here on the homestead.

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