Turning in the PVO

AC was on call for her surgery rotation, but there was a lot to do to get the orchard ready for winter, so I blitzed up to Maine last weekend with the larger of the two dogs and set to work.

  • I moved the 2000lb of dolomitic limestone and 200lb each of greensand and phosphate rock up to the orchard site and tarped them over.
  • I pulled my grandfather’s old lime spreader out of the pole barn and rehabilitated it.  This primarily involved worrying the flow control gate slide mechanism to work the rust out of the bearings and get the cable working again.
  • I used the Kubota with the spring-tooth harrow to break up the moosemaple root clods that were left in the northeast corner by the excavator last spring, and carried the roots to the edge of the orchard by hand
  • I also gathered up a lot of small rocks by hand, and twitched one giant rock out using the tractor bucket.  I exposed a couple more that didn’t want to come out by tractor.
  • I used some old truck tire chains to make a heavy chain drag to smooth the soil
  • I hooked up the double-bottom plow and turned over the entire orchard.  I had been worried that the plow would bog on the many roots left in the ground, or the shear pins would break when I hit rocks, but to my delight it worked quite well.  It was surprisingly satisfying to see the area of broken ground spread across the orchard site, until I reached the far edge, and took a couple passes around the perimeter to break up roots of the nearby trees.
  • I then hooked up the disk harrow, with a 12″ chunk of 4′ maple firewood as ballast, and harrowed the site across the furrows to smooth it out.
  • I used the chain drag to smooth the soil to get it ready for the lime spreader
  • The Kubota battery seemed to be on its last legs, and the  small Mitsubishi tractor wouldn’t start at all, so I took measurements for new batteries
  • I unpacked the 11 boxes containing 20 bags of tree prep mix, 50 pounds of fall cover crop, and tree protector spirals
  • I put the spirals on the trees in the orchard; there are a few spares for some of the other random trees around the place
  • On my way out I got a couple of bags of tomatoes out of my grandparents’ garden; I ground these up at home and cooked them down into 6 pints of good thick sauce

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