In farming, even the simplest things can be tremendously difficult. Take for example, making a row. Believe it or not, I searched long and hard for the information necessary to perform this feat, and to my dismay, most everywhere you look, they just assume that any idiot knows how to make a row.
So - to benefit future farmers of America, I here will reveal the secrets to the successful making of a row. Let us begin.
The first secret to row making is the tractor... We got our tractor after our first row making attempt, which was done using a lonely rototiller. I do not recommend trying to break up a virgin pasture with a rototiller. After several hours in the blazing heat and an abortive attempt to do just such a thing with a large, powerful rented machine, the rental guy helpfully informed me that it was a rototiller, not a jack hammer. I wish he had shared this information BEFORE renting me the equipment, but such is the process of learning. We eventually got a small fall garden going for pumpkins and later some other stuff, mostly by spraying a lot of water over an area and jack-hammering (err... I mean rototilling) until our arms shook off. A few pumpkin seeds and a lot of watering later - we began to grow some stuff. You may be wondering about the compost? Yeah - that's right, I didn't mention compost.
Well, compost or no, some stuff grew... No raised beds (rows) and no compost to speak of notwithstanding, we got some pumpkins and some snow peas, and a bit of broccoli and the sweet smell of victory. We were now ready to tackle the big field, and now enter stage left, our new 1945 Ford 9n/2n farm tractor. If it helps, this thing rolled off the assembly line right around the end of World War II, but the old girl was in good shape and ready to work.
After a little more research, I discovered the proper sequence is PLOW, DISC HARROW, TILL and then HILL. Easy peasy... So I acquired a plow and a DISC HARROW, shown below:
The purpose of the plow was to take the top few inches of the field, and essentially flip it over. As you can see below, this actually works pretty darn well. You flip over the sod and create giant brick size chunks of clay! But not a problem, after you run the disc harrow over the top of it several times, and then using a nice garden rake to mound it up into hills, you actually get pretty good at making... you guessed it... gravel.
OK - So about that compost... Turns out that good ol' Central Texas clay is pretty good at growing weeds and grass, but to really get vegetables to grow, you need mounds of decaying, smelly stuff known as compost! So we contacted a mushroom farm that produces the stuff by the truckload as a side effect of mushroom growing...
As you can see - delivering enough compost to cover a field requires quite the truck! To make a long story short, we then spread the compost out all over our gravel with a blade... This is not recommended as it took three days and is a bit uneven in the end... I have read of a mysterious thing called a "compost spreader", but it requires the device and a front end loader to fill the thing up, neither of which I have, so push it around with a blade we did. After discing the compost into the gravel again (ok, dirt) we finally had something that looked like it might reasonably grow vegetables!
The next order of business is to mound the newly mixed dirt/compost into hills, or from here on out, what's known as the "rows"... This is where we will actually plant stuff... I went to Paige Tractors in oddly enough, Paige Texas, and acquired a "Garden Bedder" or "Hiller". This thing cost $350 bucks, and all it is, is a bar with two scoops on it, but go figure... I was able to scoop up 26 rows in an hour or two instead of 4-5 hours for a single row using rakes and shovels! Go machinery! Things were looking much better at this point. All that remained was to go back to our trusty rototiller and really beat that row into submission! We bought this hoss rototiller from a guy who was getting OUT of the farming business and was unloading a Honda FRC300 which is a tank. It's almost like a mini-tractor with gears and everything! :-)
One or two passes with that bad boy up and down the raised bed, or row, and we are ready for business! And with that, I conclude my seminar on "How to make a row. IF YOU HAVE ANY FEEDBACK FOR US, USEFUL ADDITIONS TO THIS ARTICLE OR FOUND THIS ARTICLE USEFUL PLEASE LEAVE US A COMMENT BELOW OR EMAIL US AT SKINNYLANEFARM@GMAIL.COM. THANK YOU!