The Canada Geese at Howell Farm are no longer being subtle about their corn-snatching intentions.
Farmer Pete has never been so impressed with a field of growing oats. He observes that among the straight rows of green, there’s hardly a weed to be found. In fact, he posits that the field couldn’t be any cleaner of weeds if it was sprayed with an herbicide—and the weeding here is all mechanical.
The key to a weed-free oat field is good timing. Farmer Ian ran a weeder through the field at just the right time, shortly after germination when the oats had roots just deep enough to hold onto the soil. Smaller weeds were cultivated out, and this gave the oats the head start they needed to win the competition of crop vs. weed.
Farmer Pete recalls how Farmer Halsey, now retired, was meticulous about the timing of his plantings and weedings. If a field were harrowed in preparation for plating, but then weather or other circumstances delayed the plating by even two days, it was back to the harrow again, in order to stifle any new weeds before planting. When it comes to weeds, it’s much easier to start right than play catch-up later.
It's early June, which means the waves of grain are still looking more green than amber as the crop continues to mature. The beards on the bearded wheat are growing long and full, which--hopefully--will be a deterrent to hungry deer looking for a snack.
The Furrow is the online newsletter of The Friends of Howell Living History Farm. We will be updating this site about once a week with crop reports and other insights into life on a horse-drawn living history farm.
|THE FURROW: The online newsletter of Howell Living History Farm||