Monday, January 23, 2012

Rain and Grain

In the last three days we've received two inches of rain.  That's great since we didn't see a drop in two months.  Around here, the soil is a heavy clay.  Once it's wet it stays wet for a long while but once it dries out it turns to cement!  I had to water the trees a couple of times during the winter which is something I rarely ever have to do.  We've had enough rain that I won't have to water for a couple of months now. 

Next week it's supposed to be in the 60s outside.  Between the rain and the sunny weather the grass should be growing fast enough to make the sheep really happy.  I think they are getting tired of leaves but they are fat and happy and almost ready to pop out some lambs.  We still have to wait for the coldest, wettest, most miserable day.  That will be lambing day, guaranteed. 

I can't believe it's almost time to start planting.  Yesterday right before it started raining I threw out about 10 pounds of sunflower seeds into the front pasture.  I also have oats planted out there.  I'm hoping that the sunflowers near the fruit trees do well.  I don't know how the rest of them will fare since they will only have rain water and it stops raining in April.  The oats should do great.  The pasture across the street has oats grown for hay.  The oats head out really well.

This next weekend, or even tomorrow since I'm taking half day off tomorrow, I am going to plant 1/2 acre in wheat.  I have no idea how it will come out because the seed is going right on top of the ground.  The land wasn't disced so it's not bare ground.  There's a light layer of dormant grasses right now.  Hopefully I'll get something.  After reading about wheat I learned that after it's cut the wheat grass will grow back in the fall.  The animals can graze on it during the winter as long as they are taken off before the wheat takes off in the spring.  That will be good for next fall but for now I'll see if anything grows.  Otherwise next fall I'll get more serious and prepare the land better.  I have enough fencing to keep the animals out of the wheat and oat pastures. 

Most of the people around here just let their pastures get waist high in weeds.  That will help hide the fact that I will be growing wheat and not weeds in the back.  The oats out front will look like the land just down the road and won't stick out. 

It's almost time to start thinking about spring planting of vegetables.  Where has the time gone?


  1. I also live where there is lots of clay in the soil. We are able to purchase a product at our home stores (Lowe's, Home Depot +) called Claybuster. For the home owner with a typical sized city lot, this is affordable. Someone told me they thought you could have it delivered by the truckload.

    I have purchased several bags of Claybuster and when I am working on garden beds, I add it and mix it in.

    I also understand that compost will help amend clay soil also. Again, a truckload could be dropped at your location. I find with clay soil, I have to keep working on it and when I do amend the soil, the difference is very notable.

  2. Yes! you need to watch the film "Back to Eden" at, He lives in California and raises a huge garden without much watering, he irrigates when he plants and not much after that, by using mulch, compost, etc. NO TILLING. A very good film. It can be streamed for free online, or you can order the DVD. We will be trying this method starting this year, and building up our soil.

  3. Back to Eden was a good film. It emphasized using wood chips as a mulch. Good idea and around here there's lots of chipping being done for fire prevention. At times there are piles of wood chips just waiting to be hauled off. Otherwise they cost about $50 a cubic yard which is way too expensive for us.