The coast is a-buzz with the sounds of tractors and Fifth Crow is no exception. Sam, our new tractor assistant, started this week. The soil has dried out enough to get out there and do some much needed tractor work (until these new rains appeared). He, Darin, Mike, and John have all been seen on the tractors lately. Beds have been busily getting formed for new plantings and sowings, and acres of cover crop are getting tilled in. The cover crop gets one pass over with the mower (or two passes if need be), then it gets incorporated into the top few inches of soil with the cultivating discs. Next, we have a large compost truck come out and drive over the fields spreading tons of wonderful new compost over the top of the newly incorporated cover crop. Sam then goes through with the subsoiler (also known as a ripper) to fracture the soil, or in other words, loosening and breaking up the soil that is below the depth of our other implements. Our subsoiler consists of three shanks set 30″ apart, reaching a depth of approximately 18″. One placed behind each tractor tire and one in the center. Sam goes over the field twice. First in one direction then the second pass is driven perpendicular to the first direction. Often a third pass is done at a diagonal but that can be a bit trickier on smaller scaled farms. It’s wise to do this once a year on the fields to break up compaction and most often it is done pre-winter to create better drainage in the wet months but spring is a fine time to do it too. Some of our fields didn’t get a chance to rest with cover crop throughout the winter and have continued producing produce all year round so it can be especially important to use the subsoiler in the heavily worked areas.

We have more and more crops getting sown and planted. In the picture to the left Darin is sowing spinach and other baby green crops with the tractor seeder. The crew has either planted or sown beets, romaine hearts, radicchio, scallions, dill, cilantro, butterhead lettuce, and a resow of carrots that didn’t germinate from two weeks ago, plus chard, broccoli, kales, baby head lettuce, & cabbage. And lets not forget about the flowers getting planted out too!

New beds planted out and the strawberries are almost here!!