A few weeks ago, we finished laying out layers of manure, straw, and compost on the field we intend to use for the garden. The field is 75’x93′ total; about 1/5 an acre. it’s a hugely ambitious space, but upon tilling it, we discovered that some of that clay is hard hard hard. so much so that planting with vegetables is likely to fail in those areas. so we’re currently planning to interplant rough areas with clover or alfalfa, which has two advantages: it’s really great animal feed, and it has five-foot taproots that break clay. then next year, Chris will come back with the tractor and a ripper and pull through all that clay, and really get it turned up, and we can mix in a bunch more compost and straw and other organic matter, and start to really lay out regular beds.

So, Chris from Ironwood Farms, our friends across the river, came over with his tractor. As noted, in spite of last-minute trailer failure at Ironwood, we accomplished tractor-hauling by deciding to bite the bullet and buy our own flatbed trailer. we’d been debating that purchase for months anyhow, and it’s already proved useful and will get more so.

The tractor tilled up the entire field, clay, rocks, weird automotive parts, grass, weeds and all, in about five hours.

Of course the day turned out gusty and windy, too. So we followed the tractor around and around the field, watering the dirt to help keep the dust halfway under control, and picking up the rocks, wire, and other trash that it turned up here and there.

Here you can see the patchwork of straw and compost on the untilled part of the field. That’s Chris driving the tractor, and looking for debris in the turned earth.

Complete with dust plume and greenhouse:

Watering the dust. You can see how much good that’s doing. shortly after this we busted out dust masks for the rest of the afternoon.


The tilled field, looking a heck of a lot more like a garden, complete with chickens:

and a view from the west, looking east: