2 acre farm: Rain

2 acre farm

The experiences, trials, and lives on a small farm in rural Illinois.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Tyee & Bloomsdale Spinach

I love how the forecast is so variable. Checked yesterday and it was suppose to be sunny and warming up all week except a slim chance of rain on Wednesday. Now the forecast is saying rain for the next ten days except WEDNESDAY which is going to be sunny. At least the temperature is suppose to remain in the upper 50's and low 60's, of course that is subject to change.

Music Garlic. 
Going off the original forecast I got some planting done today so I wouldn't be set back by the rain on Wednesday. Spent the better part of the day planting the first round of potatoes, more radishes, more turnips, more lettuce, and more spinach. I am really hoping for this rain to hold off. I have a lot more seed potatoes coming and some spring planted garlic which all needs to get in the ground immediately.

I also got a chance to inspect the overwintered crops (pictures) and spotted the first 2011 asparagus! I can't wait to harvest asparagus. All the over winted crops are looking very good. I have a few carrots heaved out from freezing but not many. For such a harsh winter I am very pleased.

This is Precoce d'Argenteuil.
 I started all my asparagus from
seed which (contrary to popular
 belief) allows it to be harvested
 the second year. This spear is
 about a half inch in diameter. 

Next up for me is clearing a bunch of invasive trees that shade the south garden. A number of crops suffered last year in that garden from the shade. I also need to clear some brush for a partial shade spot I plan to plant some rhubarb on. I also have tons (literally) of compost to spread. So much to do and summer will be here in a blink. 

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Blogger Tommy said...

Sounds like the garden is shaping up for Spring.

A question for you---where do you get the tons of compost from? Do you have livestock, too?

It seems like I can never have enough compost available for the garden, and I don't have anywhere near 2 acres planted!

March 16, 2011 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

We are fortunate to have the largest horse breeding ranch in the mid west about 25 miles down the highway from us. They have a manure pile in peak season about 20 feet high and if I had to throw out a estimate it probably has a foot print of at least an acre. Needless to say it is free for the taking. I get a couple truck loads throughout the season when I have time and let it compost for 9+ months.

I have also experimented with making my own with different crops that create a lot of mass. This years test for compost production is sweet sorghum.

March 16, 2011 at 5:10 PM  
Blogger Tommy said...

That is so cool. What a great opportunity, having that so close to you. Will the horse manure alone compost to good stuff for the garden, or do you find the need to add green matter into it as well?

March 17, 2011 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

This particular ranch cleans their stalls very regularly so it tends to be heavy on the bedding. It still composts into great stuff regardless but takes the full nine months or more to do so. Adding green manure would speed this up and make the end result higher in nitrogen but adding something to it takes time and that is something I am always short on. So I compost it as is. I can get nitrogen into my soils with cover crops. The compost adds some but it more importantly adds organic matter. I do like to dust the gardens with wood ash or lime when I add this compost because it is acidic due to the bedding being pine chips.

If you can track down some horse borders/breeders they will often give the manure away free or at a cheap price. Be sure to let it compost at least 6 months, longer is better. Horse manure can have harmful pathogens that composting will get rid of.

March 17, 2011 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger MCHesser said...

for what it's worth, there are more horses in the state of IL than in any other state in the US. If you were closer to me, I'd give you all the composted horse manure you are willing to take away!

December 27, 2011 at 11:49 PM  

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