Sunday, March 23, 2008

2nd Work Party a success

March 22nd , a big party turned out to work on the project.
Mac , Steve, Dick, Don, Sam, Eric , William and Dan all arrived willing to work.

Friday night I moved 10 backhoe bucket loads of rotted mulch to the hops area from the far side of the property, in preparation of mixing it into the soil, I also started to plow up the long row using the backhoe rear bucket. The whole area was also mowed with one exception, circle D, as it had too many sticks in it still (it was where the old tree fell ) . I chose an old push mower from the pile on the property (there are over 20 old scrap mowers back there) to work on and got it running pretty quickly and it will be our mower for use on the project. It was a drive type and the drive gear box had seized, so I just dismantled the gearbox, the motor ran fine.

A beautiful day greeted us Saturday and a long list of items to be done. We had to mow the last circle after picking up the sticks- with our new project mower, we had all the horse manure , compost and mulch to add to the existing circles and the long row. We had to till it all and then mound it all up again. Poles were supposed to be chosen and dug in, but our Landowner struggled to get equipment to us, but we still had plenty to keep us busy. The small tractor would not start, and then the Backhoe blew out a hydraulic hose and had to be sidelined. We eventually got the large excavator working, and small tractor with tines and scraping blade working to help with the work. The final outcome is 4 crop circles, and a 120 ft line all mounded and ready for planting.....

We rolled out some cable for the full length, but Jonathan wants us to rather use a smaller diameter and also a cable that is not quite as new as the one I found. We also tackled cutting the brambles and area between the trees and the road, and we will try and keep it clean too.

At the end of the day after most had left, Jonathan and I managed with Eric and William to pick out 8x 25ft (and longer) poles and set them aside for next time. These will be raised after the auger holes are dug- at least 4-5ft, and then all will be topped to the same height for uniformity.

A soil test was done Sunday and except for Nitrogen all looks fine- amazingly the PH was almost neutral , which is perfect , will put a bit of nitrogen rich fertilizer down and recheck in a week. Maybe we do need some more horse manure for the circles ???

Our potted hops, have started to sprout, with the first two shoots out the soil, the first tray of Marigolds also have sprouted

The first Hop shoots

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