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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | May 9, 2014

Just before we had a week’s worth of rain that started on a Saturday evening on the last days of April, my wife suggested, on that Saturday morning, it would be a good day to get the potatoes planted.

We had dried out somewhat from the previous rains and the weather forecast did not look good for the following week with more rain. It was that Saturday or forget it until who knows when.

We bought our seed potatoes a week or more earlier and had even brought them inside when the outside temperature got too cold to keep them in garage.

Maybe the conditions were not as good as we wanted, but it was the best we had at that moment.

The tiller had not been run for a year so the first question was would it start.

I put gas in the tank and attached the battery charger to boost the battery, pulled the choke and turned it over.

After a certain amount of adjusting, the choke and throttle, assisted by a few words of my choice for encouragement (well, maybe not exactly encouragement, but you know what I mean), it popped a couple times and then started firing and as I slowly advanced the throttle, it was actually running.

This was fortunate because I had no Plan B if it did not start.

I started tilling and my wife started cutting the potatoes into smaller pieces.

I was starting to believe this job would be done by noon. Wouldn’t that be great?

I like tilling the garden twice to get the soil nicely pulverized and things were moving along.

We were ready for the actual planting about noon. My wife wanted to quit for lunch and I wanted to keep going. We quit for lunch.

My wife suggested eating at the closest town; we drove there, and they were closed.

We drove to the next town, got our lunch, came home and planted the potatoes.

Since we were on a roll, more ground was tilled and in went radishes, arugula, kohlrabi and some other things I don’t eat.

At 4 p.m., we were putting everything back in the garage. We had the garden planted and rain was in the forecast, only hours away.

Here it is about 10 days later, and I see everyone around me who wants to plant corn and soybeans in the same position I was on that Saturday morning.

It is close, but not quite right. How much longer do I dare wait?

Where is that light ground that dries out quickly that is a good place to start?

Sunday was the very beginning of the planting season around here. There was activity, but not a lot.

Tomorrow the pace will accelerate. Then it will be hectic for the next two or three weeks.

Then, as quickly as it started, it will be done and equipment will be put away. The growing season has begun.

Since my son is taking over, he is in charge of the corn and soybeans. I am in charge of the potatoes.

We both have our crops to raise and take pride in getting the jobs done, even when conditions are not quite what we want.

He uses a 400 horsepower tractor, mine has 10. The crops don’t know the difference.

He uses GPS for straight rows. I use a rope stretched between two stakes. We both have straight rows.

Neither of us knows what to do with arugula or kohlrabi.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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