Friday, 3 April 2015

Ploughing With A Two Furrow Competition David Brown Plough

Last weekend I managed to get my "second garden" ploughed. 
I've been thinking about increasing my growing space for some time now as I wanted somewhere to grow on my grafted apple tree and somewhere to experiment with other crops and staples. 
 My neighbour and good friend, Ken, is mad on competition ploughing and offered to plough my new patch for me with his little two furrow David Brown plough pulled by his Massey Ferguson '35. It was good fun helping him set it up, as it's a plough designed for competition there was so many adjustments and things to be altered it took a couple of rows to get it set right. 
 We also unearthed a patch of stone in the middle which didn't help matters, other than that the plough turned the ground over and left what looked like books of soil lay down in furrows.


The plan is now to let this patch dry out a bit (if it ever stops raining) then to roll it and rotavate it to produce a seed bed.
It's not a massive patch of ground but it'll be a big increase in my work load this year, trying to keep on top of the weeds and all the extra plants to put in. I'm planning on using lots of mulches and maybe some more weed membrane for paths and other fallow areas. 
What do you think - am I mad to increase my growing area by this much?

27 comments:

  1. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain, including backache probably! Shall look forward to seeing how it goes.

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    1. I imagine quite a bit of backache from this patch! Stay tuned!

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  2. That looks fab, would he like to come and do some of mine :-)

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    1. Set up a competition and he would!

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  3. If you don't try you will never know, and the income from selling any extra produce, would be handy. Though I love to barter rather than sell or buy.

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    1. I barter if I can as well, I doubt I'll make much from this other than the trees to be honest, but it'll be good to know I can grow more if I need to.

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  4. Reminds me of the "good ol' days," back on the farm. I sure miss those times!

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    1. It was like a step back in time with the old tractor going!

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  5. Definitely give a go Kev, it will be interesting to see the patch develop.
    John

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    1. Yep, just got to draw up some plans now.

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  6. Nope I don't think you're mad at all but I would quickly set to making pathways covered with membrane and get it marked out like a large allotment. That way it won't seem half as daunting when the time comes to start planting and weeding etc.

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    1. Yeah, pathways and membrane are high up on my list! I need to get it fenced and draw up a plan on what I'm going to plant and where.

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  7. Competition plowing? Holly crap just when you thought you'd seen it all you learn something new. Who'dathunkit? I suppose its kind of like the steam roller races they have here at the transportation museum. That two furrow plow does seem to do a nice job of it though. Does seem like a good size plot you tilled up.

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    1. Match ploughing is really big over here! I went to one of their meeting the other night (they were having a talk on veg) and it's very popular with lots of members. Some matches have 80 participants spread over lots of different classes.

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  8. "...am I mad to increase my growing area by this much?"....
    Absolutely!!
    Mad as a box of frogs!!
    I write with six areas of three metres by fourteen under cultivation...
    only five of which are fully in use at any one time....
    each of which yeild eight three by one metre beds and paths between... this allows for plenty of over winter crops...
    the sixth is a giant, fifty centimetre high, covered "compost heap" that we plant the cucurbits into... and which we move sideways a year at a time....
    following it with the potatoes.
    The only beds NOT covered by the rotation are the permanent beds in the first row... for the carrots, annual herbs, etc.
    And we've room for two more blocks before we hit the hedge!
    And Sue is right... that is why ours is divided into beds...
    you weed a bed... and think "Ooo! That didn't take too long, I'll do another!"....
    but faced with the area you've ploughed... full of weeds...
    you tend to go indoors for a beer and a think!!

    Around here the competition ploughing is BIG.... and, like the tractor above, most is done by the retro machines....
    including teams of horses... Percherons mainly, but we have seen a team of asses...
    Concours du Labour are on most w/e in summer....
    never a shortage of land, there is always someone who can offer a field to plough... all he then has to do is tidy it up!!

    And the competitors come as young as eight [under Dad's guidance] with blocks of wood tied to the tractor pedals...
    or, without Dad on board, doing it by themselves with a small John Deer or similar...
    and then there are the old smallholders with their two-wheel ploughs...
    and one guy who is there with the ultimate toy....
    a just-post-war tricycle machine that has a proper tractor lift at the back and can plough... tow... harrow, etc.... but no PTO...
    and has a six foot cutterbar that he can cut hay with...
    I want that machine...
    you can't fail to plough straight... the small and narrow front wheel sits in the last cut....
    all you have to do is make sure the first is dead straight!!
    I've seen him cut that one three times before he's happy to do the competition block.
    But your neighbour's work would win many a Concours over here!!
    Tim

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    1. Sounds very much like our ploughing matches and it's all taken very seriously! My uncle is also mad on it as well (third in the national this year in his class). Sounds like your plot is the smae as my two now I have this second one ploughed. This one is about 5m by 30m and my other is about 10m by 45m (plus fruit garden). Should keep me out of trouble this year!

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  9. i can't wait to see how things grow!

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    1. Cheers Jaz, it's always exciting planting on a new patch and seeing how it behaves.

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  10. Don't think you're mad at all. If you are intending to put in pathways andother iinfrastructure I would do it now. If once manured you have nothing to grow there plant a green manure sown thickly. Lupins are good particularly with the food source they provide for bees and flower that both your family and neighbours will like. We constantly have beds that are not used which allows soil time to recuperate and gives you the flexibility of increasing production with a minimum of effort and expenditure. For example a few years ago we secured a contract to supply a number of foodie pubs. Because the beds were already there and well fertilised we easily expanded the capacity without our existing customer base suffering and without having the sudden expense of labour and infrastructure.
    I realise you have no current commercial concerns as such but that can change very rapidly!

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    1. Where do you get your green manure seeds from? I'll try lupins on your recommendation as they sound like a good bet. I'm also going to put down some paths and walkways with membrane and woodchip.
      I also like the idea of having gardens that can be ramped into production as soon as I want, you never know when you're need that extra production. I'd like to grow things to sell but I think I need more practice first (with the honesty box) as I know I still have a lot to learn and growing to order is a completely kettle of fish.

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    2. Kev, try Kings Seeds for green manures...
      they sell large packs.
      And join the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners... a very useful organization, and your plot counts as a leisure garden... you get discounts on Kings Seeds through their Seed Scheme.
      I would recommend Phacelia as a green manure and bee plant combined...
      also buckwheat...
      you can plant anything after them as they have no relatives in a rotation.
      I don't recommend field beans... no weed cover!!
      And beware mustard...
      grows well, too well...
      and ISN'T killed by the first frosts!!
      Or the second, third, etc.

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    3. I've used kings when we had an allotment before but to be honest I haven;t used them since, which is weird as they suppiled great seed at a low price. I've been using moles seeds lately and they're really good as well for bulk seed orders.

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    4. Www.greenmanure.co.uk not all seed is organic or non hybrid though. They are well worth checking out for advice on whats best for your type of soil.
      Lupins are excellent for bees but remember you have to chop them in before they set seed which is a fairly brief window.
      Because they are a member of the legumes family they are excellent nitrogen fixers.
      Our green manure seeds are our own because we save year on year. Unfortunately I don't have sufficient spare to sell on, sorry.
      Enough seed for 80 sqm should set you back around six or seven pounds so it shouldn't break the bank.
      Remember though unlike your cropping plants you want these good and thick on sowing.

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  11. Those are really straight furrows! I am impressed.

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    1. Ken was annoyed because there was a patch of stone in the middle that kept making it look rough and he kept adjusting the plough. he had it set right on the last couple of passes.

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  12. Man I hope I can learn to plow that well someday.

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    1. He's in his 70's so he's had plenty of practice! Born and bred farming and using machines.

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