Thursday, May 1, 2014

(DF) PLANTING CORN IN A STUMP PATCH


Yes, I am serious, I planted corn in a stump patch.  About a month and a half ago, I decided to clear the trees at the north end of the garden.  The small patch of ground in question is good soil, and with a little work (alright, a lot of work) it will be a good addition to the main garden.  The first photo, is of the piece of ground in question immediately after I cut the trees into firewood, before the brush was burned.  In the background, you can see the trees, which is what the newly cleared patch looked like  the day before.

Over time, I burned the brush and moved the firewood, then marked off where it would need tilled in relation to the new fence line at the back edge.  Now it was ready to till, as soon as I could find the time.

In case you have never tried it, tilling or plowing in a stump patch can be an interesting process.  My first such experience with this concept was when I was very young (seven or eight years old).  My Grandfather had farmed all his life with a team of horses and I wanted to learn how.  He showed me how to put on the harness and hook up the plow, then we went to plow his garden.  There was a newly cleared area at the edge, and sure enough, the plow caught a root and jumped sideways, throwing me down.  My Grandfather laughed and explained how if I had been taller, I would have been kicked in the ribs by the plow handles.  Years later, while breaking a mule to plow, I experienced what he was talking about. No fun at all, I might add.

Over the years, I have also plowed in new ground with tractors.  There are no plow handles to kick you in the ribs, but it can make for a wild ride at times.  Also no fun at all.

Day before yesterday was my first experience using the garden tiller among stumps.  With a good deal of effort, some cursing and numerous stops to cut elm roots from around the tiller tines, the small patch finally got tilled.  Not a pretty job of tilling to say the least, but it was tilled deep enough to plant.  During this process, I found that under just the right circumstances, the tiller handles, like old fashioned plow handles, can thoroughly kick you in the ribs.  Yes, I have very sore ribs (bruised, not broken).  Almost fifty years later, and with different equipment, the process remains the same.  You guessed it, still no fun at all.


As you can see in the second picture, the small patch looks a little different.  What you can not see is that I planted corn among those stumps this morning.  The rows are not straight and there are skips where the stumps are, but given good weather (including a bit of rain), a bit of mercy from the munchers and, of course, a few good  blessings, there will be a bit of corn grown there this year.

It will take a few years for the stumps to rot out, but experience has shown me that it will get easier each time it is worked, and soon it will be as good as the rest of the garden.  I can almost taste the fresh corn now.  YUM!

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