Farm Scale Study: Planting
Almost all of our crops are in the ground for the second year of our farm scale study. Kentucky has had a wet spring, so everything is growing like mad, but soggy soil has delayed some planting.
Last year we had relatively poor establishment of our direct-seeded crops in the biointensive plots. This year we transplanted everything into the biointensive plots. The soil preparation in the biointensive plots was conducted with hand tools. We cut the cover crop with scythes, and incorporated it, along with some aged horse manure, using spading forks and a broadfork. The manure was not composted according to organic requirements, so we will have to wait 120 days after its incorporation to harvest the sweet potatoes, and 90 days to harvest the other crops.
We used a roto-tiller attached to a walk-behind tractor to prepare the soil in the market garden plots, and a plow and roto-tiller pulled by a conventional 4-wheeled tractor in the small farm plots.
We direct-seeded the corn, sweet sorghum and soybean into our market garden plots using an Earthway seeder. We direct- seeded these same crops into the small farm plots using a tractor-pulled seeder.
Of course we kept track of all of the time and fossil fuel used to conduct these operations at each of the farm scales.
It feels like we’re off to a good start for the season, but yesterday we had to say good-bye to Moises Hernandez who is returning to Mexico after studying at Kentucky State University for the past two years. He plans to start an organic agriculture project in his hometown when he returns. We’ll miss the contributions he made to our project, but look forward to hearing about his future adventures.
The gallery below shows some more pictures of spring on the Kentucky State University research farm.