Wartime Farm (again).

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  trusty220 2 weeks, 5 days ago.

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  • #34376

    trusty220
    Keymaster

    Those of you who remember Wartime Farm on the telly will know that the storyline with the Trusty was to plough, cultivate and plant a small patch of ground in order to grow a crop of beans as a part of the “Dig for Victory” campaign.

    Earlier on this week our great friend who owns the farm where we keep the horses/chickens/tractors said that someone had given her some seed potatoes but she had nowhere to plant them. After batting a few ideas around between us we came up with the idea that there was a corner of one field that was just made for the job- it couldn’t be grazed because there was a track that went diagonally across the corner, leaving this piece of ground cut off from the rest of the field.

    Friday morning came nice and cool so I loaded up ready; first job was to trim some overhanging branches off an oak tree, so the chainsaw came out and the branches transported to the bonfire on the tractor and trailer. Next was to knock down the grass and brambles so my International 454 was put to work with the Votex topper. Brambles, grass and Blackthorn suckers all got mashed up by the Votex and the ground looked level afterwards. I left the debris on top to provide something to rot down and turn in with the plough.

    My Trusty 3-speed came out next with the Greyhound Plough and it took next to no time to turn everything over, brown side up. Off came the plough and on went the disc harrows to knock the furrows down into some sort of seedbed. Half an hour later and I was all-in! I’m not used to pushing a Trusty around these days especially when the ground is so hard and sprinkled with roots.

    I’m leaving it for a while until I can get the Earthquake out to chop it all up; I also need to sort the water bowser out so that I can park it on the corner to water in the potatoes when they get planted. The bowser has a Robin engine with a water pump which supplies two outlets fitted with 1/2″ hosepipe, so it is well suited to the job in hand, the only trouble is the engine feels as if it is seized. I’ll get to the bottom of that next.

    Enjoy the photo’s.

    • This topic was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  trusty220.
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    #34380

    charlie
    Keymaster

    Keep us updated on progress. I installed soaker hose and earthed up my potatoes yesterday.

    #34381

    trusty220
    Keymaster

    Please accept my apologies for the lack of pictures- I think I must be at the end of the line and everyone was online last night so the pictures wouldn’t load.

    Here goes, try again!

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  trusty220.
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    #34416

    crawlersimon
    Participant

    That’s great, I wish I had a plot of ground like that to go at. I could then stretch both my legs and those of the tractor. As it is I’ll continue to sit at the computer and the tractors in the garage. ☹️

    My only observation on the potatoes is that, in my experience, you will need to get the potatoes in ASAP – in order to get a crop from them.

    [The RHS recommends planting:
    First earlies around late March
    Second earlies from early to mid-April
    Main crops from mid- to late April]

    #34423

    trusty220
    Keymaster

    Those were my thoughts exactly. I think these are going to be late-lates!

    Top of the list of things to do is going to be servicing the Trusty Earthquake so that I can chop up some of the fibre in the soil, then I’ll dump a Trailer load of horse muck on it and turn that in. That should give the potatoes something to get their teeth into!

    #34430

    lurcher
    Participant

    I went out to take my mum some shopping yesterday and saw a field that looked like it had only been ridged up in the last few days. You can bet your life that they wouldn’t have been planted if there wasn’t a viable crop on the horizon, they don’t do anything unless there’s a potential profit so you should be alright although a lot depends on variety and getting plenty of water on them. Commercial crops are are tied either for contract reasons, fitting around other jobs or the weather but hopefully you only have one of these to worry about. Keep us posted with photos.

    #34433

    trusty220
    Keymaster

    I’ve been struggling to get the Earthquake to run today. Outside in the bright sun from 9 o’clock this morning until 1 o’clock I’m now very brown, covered in oil and stinky! By 1 o’clock I’d had enough so I’ve left it to carry on with tomorrow.

    The Earthquake isn’t the easiest of machines to work on. To remove the cowling off the Villiers 25 you have to remove the clutch lever cover- to do this you have to take the right hand wheel off. You can see why I called it a day! I’m not in any hurry after all and I can soak the ground with the water bowser once the spuds are in, so I’m not racing the weather either.

    #34438

    trustymasseyman
    Participant

    come get um set its getting later now

    #34439

    dave
    Participant

    A friend of mine sent me a few new spuds from his garden today. Maybe
    Geoff wants new spuds for Christmas dinner.

    #34457

    trusty220
    Keymaster

    The engine is now in pieces in my garage. I decided to do a full rebuild on it rather than mess about doing bits and pieces. I can now get a brilliant spark just by turning the flywheel by hand, so that should help! One thing that I did find that was causing the trouble was the exhaust valve was coked up quite badly and not seating, so the valves have been cleaned up and new seats cut in the barrel.

    Re-assembly scheduled for tomorrow, so watch this space for progress. If it goes (and there’s no reason why it won’t) I’ll put the engine back on the Earthquake and rotavate the allotment. Then I’ll transfer the muck heap to the allotment and stir that in as well. Jean can then plant her spuds in that, so we may have some for Christmas dinner!

    Rhubarb and custard for pudding as well, maybe? Potatoes and rhubarb should clean the ground up nicely without having to hoe too much.

    #34458

    andyfrost
    Participant

    Geoff , one tip , make sure your horsemuck is at least three years old , IMO using “fresh” horsemuck will do more harm than good.

    Andy.

    #34466

    trusty220
    Keymaster

    I know that can be the case if the horses are using bedding based on wood shavings and you have to wait for the wood part of the porridge to rot down otherwise it takes all of the nitrogen out of the soil.

    Our horses are bedded on a hemp-based bedding which seems to rot down a lot quicker. Certainly when the wild rabbits have a dig on the muck heap the stuff they are throwing out looks like soil. I was intending to use the oldest part of the heap first as well which should be over two years old and well-rotted.

    Time will tell! Thanks for the timely advice, Andy.

    #34499

    trusty220
    Keymaster

    Sorry for the lack of updates, but I have been busy doing what I said that I was doing!

    Firstly the engine went back together with no problems and fitted back onto the Earthquake. It fired first time (honestly!) but stopped after a couple of turns. Second time it started and ran sweetly, so I pumped up the one tyre and went off to do some rotavating.

    It has now had three passes in first gear, each one at right angles to the previous one and each one a notch lower on the depth stop. There is still a lot of fibrous root material in the soil but at least it is all chopped up now, so it is ready for planting.

    Secondly I needed a water source close by- the “allotment” is over 100yds away from the house- so I gave my water bowser a bit of a going over. It hasn’t been used for two years and when I looked inside the tank it had a carpet of green algae across the bottom and about 18″ up the sides. The pressure washer had limited success and the green algae just blocked up the outlet and so there was nothing else for it but to climb into the tank and bucket out the water. Mrs. Geoff emptied the bucket and passed it back for me to refill and before long we had it epty again. I unscrewed the filter inside the tank (I didn’t know that it had one) and took a scrubbing brush and hose pipe around every part to get it clean. It is now spotless inside and ready for use. As you can see from the pictures it is now on the plot with two hoses attached to the pump- one goes through the hedge to water the horses and the other will water the allotment.

    Jean is planting spuds today and we will put some of ours in tonight. I found a bag in the garage that had been forgotten and it was full of sprouted spuds! I can’t waste them, so we give them a go.

    When I was cleaning out the water tank I had to keep coming up for air because it was a hot day and the sweat was streaming off me. Our neighbour was watching and commented that I looked like Lieutenant Gruber in his “Little Tank”! My reply is not for your tender ears!

    Attachments:
    #34540

    trusty220
    Keymaster

    We now have three rows of spuds planted and they are being watered twice a day to try to kick some life into them and the bone-dry soil. Both Jean and Mrs. Geoff have raided all corners of cupboards and pantries to find any forgotten potatoes that we can salvage. The only trouble is that we don’t know what varieties we’re planting and so it’s going to be a game of Russian Roulette when the time comes to harvest them and use them in the cooking!

    Oh well, life would be boring otherwise!

    #34548

    lurcher
    Participant

    Some years ago I worked on potato trials and if we had a variety we wanted to plant but didn’t have enough seed we would cut spuds in half to make up a full plot. As long as there was a vigorous shoot on each half it seemed to work OK. I seem to remember in extreme cases we may have even cut some in to four!

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