|A glimpse of what once was|
Big news for McCollum Orchards. This fall, we cleared eight acres of overgrown farmland. Over 30 years the property had changed from maintained orchards and farmed land to a scraggly, overgrown wooded area. The land was densely shaded. There were old, rusty trash heaps and burn piles. Beneath the tall swamp maples were rows of dead plum trees. Areas flooded where clay drain tile had broken long ago. Clearing it back to its original plane was the key to bringing the farm back to life. In order to expand production, we need more cleared land to grow vegetables, hops and fruit on.
|Big changes in just 18 months|
|The excavator does its thing|
With the land cleared, we can move ahead with the next several steps that have to be done before we can actually plant anything. First,we tested the soil on the cleared land and are waiting to find out the composition and if we need to add any amendments. Then, we need to clean up the stray roots and branches that were left behind and pile up the rocks that got upturned. (Ugh, what a big job.) In the spring, we will do heavy discing to loosen up the soil and smooth it out.
|Taking soil cores|
Now, we can start to see the forest through the trees, so to speak. The land has taken shape into four main plots. We plan to farm two fields next year and the other two we will prepare for perennial plantings, like berries. We are chomping at the bit to get that beautiful soil back into production.
PS: Things that were uncovered in the land clearing: 1) two
metal fire escapes 2) a V-8 Engine 3) a swing set 4) half a pick-up truck (not
near the engine) 5) countless beer bottles and cans 6) a broken arrowhead 7) a doll's head
8) a sleigh bell 9) lots of wild garlic
|View of the barn, house and hopsyard from the cleared field|