Our plot has two old roads that bisect the site that will not be used for growing areas this year but we hope to begin the process of reclaiming these areas to agricultural lands. The growing beds in the plot will cover approximately ¼ acre and we have been hard at work shaping, preparing, and planting them. The area had been planted with a hearty overwintering cover crop so we used a tractor to disc and till the beds. Because of the amount of rocks in the soil, we had to be selective with the machinery we used. Rock picking will be a steady activity for years to come. At Sandown, there are shared tools and a walk-behind tractor. The rotary plow and power harrow have been great for helping us prep the beds.
In setting up a new site, we wanted to do our best to reduce the amount of plastic we purchased. We did this by re-using unneeded irrigation supplies, and by using kraft paper instead of plastic landscape fabric for weed suppression. In future years we will work to reduce the amount of tilling to preserve the biological activity going on in the soil. For now, we have loaded up the beds with compost and amendments to help out crops we planted. We are now crossing our fingers for low weeds and strong resilience of the plants in the rocky clay soils.
In addition to the pea, radish and salad turnips in our Citizen Seed Trial, we will be growing beans, carrots, lettuces, squash, watermelon, fennel, kale and potatoes. We are also excited to be trialling and experimenting with amaranth, chickpeas, cow peas, and a few flowers. Working at Sandown has been a great way to meet other farmers and a new challenging opportunity to learn from the soil and the land.