2019 Garden Row Preparation

As you can see we still have snow after the Bomb Cyclone a couple weeks ago but it’s warmer and the soil moisture level is perfect for bed preparation. First action is to remove any weed block still covering rows and also any watering drip lines still buried. Then we pull out any left over plant material left from last year. Then it’s ready for row building.

The Grillo has been worth it’s weight in gold. What used to take 3 weeks takes less than 3 hours! It was purchased last year and took a little getting used to but this year only required 45 minutes of run time to build beautiful, smooth rows. The soft soil resulted in higher rows than we wanted but they will probably shrink during the resting period. The resting period should be a minimum of 1 week and a max of 3-4 weeks. After that weeds start to take over and make it difficult to maintain.

After the rows were built we used a rolling hoe to create a furrow to re-lay the subsurface drip lines. Before covering the drip lines we tested them to be sure they were still working. A couple of the drip lines in the carrot beds were damaged. Most likely from digging out carrots! Sometimes it’s difficult to know where these hoses are buried until it’s too late! Luckily we had extra line from last year and replaced it.

We ran out of working time so were not able to cover the rows with weed block. Crossing fingers weather improves the next few weeks.

Garlic was planted in October last year and is coming up faster this spring so a good sign that the bulbs will be bigger this year! We also have broccoli transplants that have been growing inside that are now too big for the soil blocks we planted them in. We had to transplant the plants into larger pots, waiting for the weather to get better. We wanted to get an earlier start with the broccoli this year since it matured so late in the season last year, potentially losing us customer sales. Growing these transplants earlier gave us an extra month so we’ll see how it goes.

Now all we can do is wait and hope the infamous weather in our area cooperates so we can start fully planting soon!

Watch the Grillo in action on the farm’s YouTube Channel:

A New Tool, The Grillo

Since we saved money this year on spring start up we decided to make an investment in a new tool to save both time and our aching bodies!

Meet the Grillo. It’s an Italian made walk behind tractor that you can buy multiple attachments for to do just about anything you might need on the farm including snow blowing! We had to order well in advance since it comes from overseas but it is well worth the wait! The bed preparation that took us a back breaking 3 weeks only took a weekend!

Why a small tracker versus bringing in the large tractor?
First, we did last years full size tractor work before we built the deer and rabbit proof fence. Adding a large gate to the fence reduces the integrity of it. The fence being solid and buried eliminates access for rodents. Every exception increases a break in opportunity for hungry wildlife. The Grillo fits through the existing doorway. Also, with our intensive planting method the smaller machine builds better small rows with little effort. Not only does it have row building, it also has a bed SMOOTHING tool that flattens out the top of the bed making it easier to plant in.

So here we start by spreading compost and building our bed rows in a single weekend!

Watch the Grillo at work on the farm’s YouTube Channel: