Developing this property has really brought our whole family together. I spend the most time up there but both my brothers come up and help out and my sister, BIL and their two kids come up several times a year for a vacation. Its off grid with the nearest power about 1/2 mile away. We have a home built diesel generator and a forklift batter and 5000 watt power inverter for power. I usually run there days on the battery then fire up the generator for 5-6 hrs to charge the battery back up and hope to have two small windgenerators up next year. We have a 26' travel with a 12x20 bunk house hooked to it to stay in.
Now to the plots. Finally got past gotta get this and that done just to stay up there. And got my first plots in. I plowed up 2.5 acres at my cousins just over 1/4 mile from the trailer. And about a acre where my Dad hunts 1/2 mile from the trailer. Starting in may I started clearing the brush and small trees from a acre across from the trailer.
Here's what the new field looked like April 5th before I started working on it. The area I cleared is to the right of the loader.
I cleared half of it burnt it then cleared the other half. The property was all woods when we got it and I had to make all my clearings roads and trails (I am still working on the trails) I have a fire hose pump and fire hose. And pushed out a little pond for a fire reservoir. So if I had the fire get away I could put it out. I also have a 500 gal tank on a wagon that I can pull around if I need it.
Here's my first brush pile.
Dad and I infront of the little fire
A lot of people use a rake to stir up there fire I use a JD 450g dozer
My field grew the best where I burnt and spread the ashes. It was also noticeably taller under the trees I left. Charcoal is very good to put in the ground. Benefits of charcoal (biochar)
Reduces nutrient leeching from soils by binding nutrients.Improves soil health by providing surfaces for beneficial bacteria and fungi to live on.
And here it is July 31st just after I got done seeding it.
It was pretty rocky and there was some sand there. I had to plow it with the dozer and dig up a bunch of boulders and push them away. And even after two days of picking rock and half day of using a rock rake there are a lot of stones left.
There was a sharp sand and running it over with the tractor compacted it badly. And there were roots and rocks sticking up everywhere and I did not expect it to grow.
8-18 when I made it up next it was up 4-5 inches and I was shocked. It turned out to be the best of the three fields I planted. I didn't even put any fertilizer on any of the fields until it was 8" high then I only put 150 lbs of 19-19-19 on it. Latter the rape plants showed it was potassium deficient.
Here's a good site that show what different mineral difficientys look like. http://www.hbci.com/~wenonah/min-def/rape.htm At the bottom of the page are links from apples to wheat.
10-2 it was really up. You can't see the brassicas in there but there was a lot but the deer were really knocking them down. For some reason the deer barley touched the oats WW and rye. As of nov 30 it was headed out and turning brown and they still weren't touching it. I have no idea why. I was going to mow some strips through it so some of it would stay green but my friends talked me out of it now I wish I would have.
I planted a brassica mix I got from the co-op. Along with trapper peas, winter wheat, rye and oats. Even though I didn't know to use it I used my crows foot cultipacker first spread my seed, drug a bedspring over and ran the cultipacker back over it.
And thanks to DB I now know about rye, radishes. Planting in strips. And planting cool and warm season feeds. And am really looking forward making a list of what I want when to plant each. And planting next year :way: My cousin that I really respect told me to plant a little of everything because you never know what the deer want one year to the next or one field to the next. He said one year all of one or two things and the next year. Leave what they ate the year before and leave what they ate. And thats what I did. But what I am learning here is rounding it out and expanding my knowledge. And I can't wait to try it out.