Farming Wisdom Edit

The Soil

My aunt and uncle always said, "There's good farmers and there's great farmers, and we're great farmers!" What did they mean by that? Well, a good farmer knows there are five things plants need to grow:

  1. ) Light
  2. ) Warmth
  3. ) Air
  4. ) Water
  5. ) Nutrients

Except for light, soil provides all of the rest, and that's the key to being a great farmer - a great farmer knows his soil! Soil isn't just rocks and sand and clay - its decaying plant matter too. Soil is mostly sand, silt and clay; and only a very little bit of it (3-5%) is actually organic matter and humus. A finely mixed bit of soil is called loam. Loam retains nutrients, doesn't dry too fast and yet doesn't stay soggy. Loam is also sometimes called good tilth, or 'easy to work.'

One sure way to increase the bounty of your tilled earth is to add organic matter - scraps from the table work nicely! This by itself works wonders, but also draws worms into your gardens and fields; these amazing creatures aren't just for fishing you know. Worms help keep the soil from being too compact, and leave behind some of the richest soil you can find.

Manure Crops?

A manure crop or cover crop gardening (also called catch crops) is the use of a crop not for its typical food-bounty, but to till under the soil before the planting season. This method of fertilization is an age-old practice. These green manures add huge amounts of organic material into the soil, reduce erosion, prevent leaching nutrients and helps build a better soil. In the Shire, you will often find fields in rotation. Sometimes these rotations are fallow, but in others a whole field might be dedicated green manure! Growing a catch crop in the fall after harvest will also help keep winter's bite from eroding the quality of your soil.

Wide Rows

Why do farmers throw their seed in large broad rows rather than narrow? Good question! Farming is hard work, and wide rows is a much better method of farming. Wide rows increase yield, it saves time weeding and harvesting, saves space, allows cool-weather crops in high heat, and improves the quality of the crops. Narrow rows are generally out. Wide crops are the mark of a skilled farmer.--Common Folk 05:21, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Coneys In Your Garden/Fields?

It is true that very few coneys live to be on year, but of course any farmer can tell you that he/she has all the coneys in his fields! Coneys can tear up young plants and ruin a farmer's day, sure enough. They also make good eating, so its a mixed bag. Hunt them off your land is one option, but you can't be expected to spend all night watching for a coney! Here are some handy ways to rid yourself of coneys:

  1. ) Sprinkle bones ground into a meal around your plants (though that might attract dogs and wolves),
  2. ) Use wood ash the same way,
  3. ) Of somewhat dubious origin, it is said pipe-weed ash works as well. I've not tried it myself, but there you go.

--Common Folk 14:43, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Gammer Weigela would like to add to this conversation with a few extra ways to rid yourself of pesky coneys who take up residence in your gardens and fields. You can:

  1. ) Paint a long gnarled stick here and there with a couple of bright colors, red or yellow, then throw it down on the ground. Coneys do not like snakes, and will stay away. You need to occasionally move the 'snake' once a day so as to keep the coney from investigating too close.
  2. ) Coneys don't like onions. Plant them in between your other plants.
  3. ) Stone walls and fences won't help much if the coney takes to digging. You've got to dig down and bury your foundation stones a good hand's height into the soil.

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