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Monday, January 26, 2015

Trying out the broadfork

The broadfork, invented by John Jeavons, is not a plow. The idea is not to turn over the earth but to lift it, creating pathways for aeration and draining. Our soil is a heavy clay, despite our having added maybe about 700 wheelbarrow loads of organic matter. I have to stand on the fork's step and waggle myself to get the tines in deep enough. But then comes the lift, which is simply a matter of pulling the handles toward you and then leaning down on them. Ergonomically this is near perfect, and it's a joy to see the two-foot wide clumps of earth rise up and settle back at about a twenty degree angle.

This gives us a chance to move the beds, which are a decade old and showing signs of needing rejuvenation. I'm lining off beds the width of the fork, two feet wide instead of three,  and raking the sheet mulch out of the resulting paths onto the beds, in effect preparing fallowed earth for planting.

Hot work! We are fifteen degrees above normal for this date at 64 °F, and sweat is running off the end of my nose. This is the upper, or spring garden. It's slated to get greens, roots, broadbeans, peas, and, later, green beans and runner beans. The summer garden is in the rear, toward the street; it will be, GWATCDR, about corn, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes and potatoes.

The ducks are a bit cheesed at being excluded from the spring garden, but they are still finding plenty to do in the summer garden. Susannah prefers grass and is working the chicken moat/orchard.

Three beds ready to go. But nothing is up in the flats yet. I carry off the tools to clean and put away, stopping to admire Jizo's patience (he needs flowers around him) and still-pointedness. He has palms together eternally; I put mine together momentarily and know, ever so briefly, that we are one.


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