Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pumpkin Update

After our mediocre pumpkin crop last year we are determined to do it right this year.  Last year there was a long dry spell in June and July that went on for at least six weeks in my memory and it could have been longer.  We couldn't do anything about that but what we could have helped was the weed situation.  We had planted by hand and the only option was to weed by hand which we didn't get to until it was too late...wayyyyy too late.  The weeds were waist high and it was hard to even find the poor deprived pumpkin plants.  Some were nothing but long vines trying to climb the weeds to get to the sun. 

This year we planted at a width that could be cultivated.  Justin created this cultivator to be used the same way the planter was used.

Much better than trying to stay on top of the weeds.  See all thosse tiny green sprouts?  In a few weeks those would have been knee high.  A quick pass up and down the rows took care of most of them.  Except...for the actual rows.  You can see in the pictures that there is still a solid spread of green in the rows between the plants.  Upon seeing the green I decided this was going to be DONE RIGHT, DAMMIT! and I spent about four hours last weekend with a hoe.  And after I hoed I crouched down and pulled the tiny new weeds from around the stems of the plants.  Hoeing and weeding is tedious but also so rewarding.  I don't have a picture because I didn't have my phone when I was hoeing but they look so good and clean!  This pumpkin patch is going to blow last year's away! 

When we returned home we has to address our garden, which was already being overtaken by the demon weed purslane and it's diabolical tap roots. 

This is a stock photo but imagine these spread thick between three rows of tiny little carrot sprouts.  Justin raked the spaces and took care of the onion rows and I sat on the ground and weeded hundreds of purslane from the carrot rows.  Between the pumpkins and the garden my pointer finger that gripped the weeds is still discolored with dirt in the way of a true working person.  You would normally see this phenomenon on the hands of a mechanic or a farmer.  Also, my shoulders and arms are still sore from the hoeing even though I though I was pretty strong from lugging kids and baby car seats everywhere for the past four years. There is a reason the young rural athletes of my parents' age and older as far as high school kids played sports did not concern themselves with weight training and why most small town schools did not include weight rooms...they didn't need it.  I recall my dad telling a friend, as they talked about the heavy and wet snow that had fallen all winter, that a shovel full of snow felt the same as a shovel full of grain and that it, "brought back nightmares!"  I also remember reading in a Midwest humor book that it was typical for a football coach to recommend throwing hay bales for the summer for the players.  I even recall the fatigue that would come after spending hours mowing on the Farmall "H" with it's very large and not at all sensitive steering wheel.  There are workout classes and programs based on boot camp so maybe there should be one based on "farming".  Old farming, not current farming where a person can drive a tractor without having to even steer it.

So, although I am still recovering my garden work was very satisfying and I can't wait to see the results! 

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