Plowing & Planting

It only took two years of living on the farm for me to recognize that there’s a very fine line between holy-effing-freezing and holy-shit-my-garden-should-have-been-planted-already. As far as I can tell, this magical period of time lasts approximately 0.0078 seconds and falls sometime between March and June. And you better be on your toes, because if you blink, you might miss it.

Last year I had grand plans for a fenced in garden full of raised beds, stone walkways, and a big chicken coop in the middle. And, um…



Okay, maybe I spent too much time planning and not enough time actually planting (early enough.) And I might have underestimated how long it would take me to hand shovel three-thousand pounds of dirt into those beds to get them ready for seeds. Didn’t stop me from ending up with a massive amount of tomatoes last year…


But it wasn’t quite the garden I envisioned. This year, however, my act is slightly more together.  (Anyone who has seen the state of my laundry recently just started laughing hysterically.) Still, when it comes to the garden, I’m making some actual progress.

I planted two of my beds full of garlic last fall…


And this is what they look like right now…

We are going to be soooo ready for a vampire invasion on the farm.

I scored some salvaged fence through a family connection last year, and called the guys who helped me with the split-rail on the donkey pasture to help me install it as soon as the frost is out of the ground.

And I’ve got a crew of friends and family coming over for a Raised-Bed-Building Party in a couple of weeks, where we’re going to knock out a bunch of these $25 beds for everyone, assembly-line style.

By the end of May, the real infrastructure for the garden should be in place.

As far as the actual growing part goes, well, I started planting seeds indoors a couple of weeks ago…


Okay, technically that is outdoors, but only for the planting part. The growing part is totally happening in my kitchen.


So far I’ve got bush beans, peas, cucumbers, zucchini, and eggplant started. With a long list I’ve also got, well, this…

You’ll note that there a few larger packages of grains out there… this is something I’m going to attempt on the Back Four this year.

But in order to mow, plow, and otherwise tame the jungle that is the four acres on the back of my property, I needed, well, this…


(Buried the lead on that one, didn’t I?)

Now, there’s a reason that I didn’t go overboard on the exclamation points yet, and that’s because this tractor is a little bit broken. It runs. It also leaks oil all over your work boots (which is fine for work boots, less fine for the ground you want to plow to plant veggies in) and there might be few missing parts. But, listen, I’m not entirely sure that I don’t have a few loose screws myself. We don’t judge around here.

You guys know I’ve been talking about buying a tractor forever– or for a year, which basically feels like forever to a girl who compulsively buys tools rightthisminute— but other than a few fruitless google searches, I hadn’t put a lot of effort into the tractor-search. My fruitless searching may have come up in conversation with one fantastically bearded dude on our very first date. If I remember correctly, that conversation went something like this:

Me: It’s pretty much impossible to find a decent tractor for under $10,000. Even a really old one.

Him: Impossible? No, it’s not impossible.

Me: Do you even know anything about tractors?

Him: No.

Me: I’m telling you, I’ve done a lot of research on this. [All lies.] It’s impossible.

Him: Right. I’ll find you a tractor for under $10,000 dollars.

Then I was like, who the hell is this guy who thinks he can just waltz in to my life with his fantastic beard and take over all of my fruitless tractor searching? Except he kind of did just that. (Clearly, clearly, I have a weakness for beards and stubbornness.)

Next thing I know I’m thisclose to buying–for significantly less than $10,000– an old tractor that I’ve never seen in person through an online auction (sound familiar?) when my family was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, if you’re going to spend a lot of money on a tractor that may or may not be broken, we’ll just give you this broken one and you can spend that money on fixing it up.

And that’s how I ended up with a tractor with a broken frame, and leaky oil, and a transaxle that’s maybe missing some parts. It’s at the shop right now, and I’m hoping to get it fixed and buy a few accessories before I miss my opportunity to plow and plant my back field this season.

And don’t even get me started on the fruit trees and grapevines.

There is going to be a lot of dirt under my fingernails this Spring…

20 Responses

  1. Wow. If I can get one herb into a pot and not kill it in a week, I’m all a-tingle… Go Kit Contrary!

  2. YAAA for building raised garden beds! That’s on our list to start *hopefully* ASAP. The ground is still frozen 7.5 feet deep here so it may be awhile before any really gardening gets going.

  3. Yeah…you go magnificently bearded dude! Old tractors are much more fun anyway!

  4. Tractor?! I am officially jealous! I still have to borrow my dad’s which, even though he has 3 of them, is a feat in itself!

  5. Yay, fantastically bearded dude!! He sounds like quite a useful fellow;)

    That tractor doe! Can’t wait to see what you tear up and build w/that thing!!

    1. Patti… yea a picture would be nice… but I also like the way Kit alludes to the “fantastically bearded dude” almost in abstract. Just because Kit is a public figure, doesn’t mean he has to be. Just as long as she gives a us a hint now and then!

  6. Woo-hoo for you! What a score. I couldn’t believe the price of tractors when we started looking for ours. Apparently tractors do not depreciate. Who knew? Sounds like you have a great plan for your garden this year. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  7. Everything is falling into place quite nicely for you! Yay!

    Today I went to a work-share event where we learned how to plant stone fruit and citrus trees properly, including amending our terrible rock and clay soil, and we also planted grape vines. So afterward I immediately went to the nursery and bought two fig trees and four small grape vines. Tomorrow morning, out comes the jackhammer. That’s how we have to dig in our cement-like soil in AZ. It was a good reason to get a jackhammerL. I might start looking on Craiglist for a broken tractor next. 🙂

  8. Can you please tell me where I can find a fantastically bearded guy? All of the ones around my area are unfortunately otherwise preoccupied.
    In other news, I, too, have grand garden plans – if only the frost would come up here in VT!

    1. This one found me, actually. One of my coworkers calls him the “Mystical Unicorn Man” because it’s kind of hard to believe a guy like him actually exists…

  9. I just found an app called Garden Time. You put in your typical first and last frost dates, add the stuff you want to grow and whether you’re starting seeds indoors or outdoors or transplanting and it pops up reminders telling you when to plant stuff. Kind of useful for a couple of people who totally do NOT have their shit together in regards to planting stuff.

    I was absolutely going to plant my cabbage and peas this weekend, but I have nothing to till with and my husband and I were both sick AND it rained all weekend and is now snowing. :/ Excuses, right?

  10. Pingback: Vegetable Garden

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