Thursday I tilled the first ground of the new year. I disc harrowed our herb garden because it had a bad blush of Winter Chicory Weed and I wanted to get it before it went to seed. This tilling will also help aerate and warm the soil. My objective in attaching the disc to the Ford 4600 tractor was to go work up a piece of ground, about 1 1/2 acres, for the spring peas.
I had chosen a field in Katama that the Land Bank calls The Norton Field, we call it Boatyard Norton because it’s right across from Herring Creek Marine and we already have a Norton Field. This field is leased from the Land Bank and has good Katama Sandy Loam soils to about 10 inches. Knowing this would be the first field tilled and there would be no benefit to having a cover crop that grows well in the spring (winter rye), it would not get a chance to put on it’s top growth. So I planted a crop of oats that grew to 4-6 inches before it frosted out. This left the roots and dead tops of the oats to hold the soil and nutrients for the winter. This dead matter on top of bare soil made it disc under very easily.
Now I can look forward to a warm spell in early April to plant the first 4 crops of shelling and sugar snap peas on the same day. I can do this because the varieties I have chosen have days to harvest that are a week apart. So when planted the same day they should follow each other by a week, hopefully. This good plan can fall apart when there is cold weather while they are young then hot weather follows. The two varieties will ‘bunch up’ and race to producing their seeds. Last year we were very lucky, our farmers picked nearly 3300 pounds of spring peas! Every year you make the same footprints as the year before.