Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's April & Getting Closer to Gardening Time!

I'm getting excited about starting in the garden soon. The weather here in Illinois has been beautiful the last few days and it really brings on thoughts of the warm earth sifting through my fingers, the smells of dirt and permanently dirty finger nails. We will be heading to the farm tomorrow morning for a three day weekend. I will get outside and check the orchard, the hazelnut seedlings and the blueberry bushes for any deer or rodent damage. Next weekend, I'm hoping to graft scions to about 20 apple trees if the weather cooperates.
I also need to get planning the garden. I am thinking of planting organic hull-less oats this spring on my existing football-field size garden and starting a new garden behind it. After the oats are done, I want to plant a cover crop like winter rye. The Amish used the same garden spot for four years before we bought the farm and we have used it for three so I think it needs a rest and rejuvenaton :-). A smaller garden would fit in better this year. We have so much to do on the inside of the barn, and weekends we won't be there for showers, weddings, christenings and vacation in Minnesota so I don't think I can handle that big of a garden this year. I am going to try to get there during the week on the weekends we have something else going on but it won't be that easy to do. I would like to get to the point of feeding ourselves mostly from the garden (easier for us being vegetarians), but I know that would be difficult since we don't live there full-time. So many ideas for up there, but so little time.

I was looking at pictures from last year this time at the farm and found that it was around that time that we found out about the possible factory farm locating around us. I remember it so clearly. The horror of the situation. The fight is far from over, but organizations in the area are trying to stop the government from making it easier to site the CAFOs, Seems like a no-brainer right? Water, ground and air pollution caused by CAFOs, bad. Actually enforcing our right to clean air, water & land, good. Oh well. As you know, I could go on & on about it.

Steve was looking at the Madison area paper, Isthmus the other night & saw an ad for Gulland Forge. He makes a garden tool called the broadfork. What a great tool for loosening up the soil. His shop is on the way up to the farm (in Black Earth) and we are thinking of purchasing one.  I have read about them in Elliot Coleman's books and have wanted one ever since. He has video links on his website on how to use one. When we live at the farm full time, I plan to do a no-till garden and this will help immensely. What a great thing, to find someone who makes and sells them locally. Here is the website...
And here is his blog...

If you get the chance, check out the links on Angie's blog 3 Flat Acres. The University of Illinois has free webinars on their site covering topics for organic growing.

Well, I need to get outside. I'm at work but I have a cordless phone and a comfy chair to sit it. The benefits of having your own business :-). Last night I started reading "Dreaming the Biosphere. The Theater of All Possibilities" by Rebecca Reider, so I will be relaxing out in the sun and reading a good book.
Enjoy the day!


Sycamore Moon Studios said...

Happy planting! A garden does a soul good for sure.

the wild magnolia said...

I love hearing about all your plans for planting wheat and rye and a small vegetable garden.

Farming is a different world and literally close to the earth. Everyone cannot farm, I know, but I believe we were better off when we lived close to the earth.

Good luck with all, and have fun.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i need to do so much here that it is a bit overwhelming. where do i start? i guess it is one thing at a time. i haven't even started any plants this year. i can't imagine doing it and not even being there all the time!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

That was a practical tool he makes! I wonder why they aren´t more common?

It is hard enough to keep a garden in shape even if one are there all the time. It must be really hard for You when You can´t be there as much as You like! But I hope everything will turn out ok!
Happy Easter!

angie said...

Hi Barb,

Thanks for the shout out. I really like buckwheat as a cover crop - it is quick growth, pretty and winterkills.

And, oh, a local broadfork! Thanks for the info.

Enjoy the weekend.

angie said...


I went to the broadfork site. Wow, I am overwhelmed. Thanks for sharing.

I am sure Steve appreciates the quality, handmade item. I know Bill will too.

Lynn said...

Did you ever hit the nail on the head: the broadfork! Just ran across one yesterday and it looks quite interesting. We are so tired of pull cord mechanics that work the first year and not the next. They are expensive too. So, I've been thinking all day about this tool. Thanks for the links. I found one at