17 February 2013

Farming Anecdotes

I've had a few busy weeks lately and it doesn't look like it's going to let up any time soon.  I hope to have time to work on this blog soon, but we'll have to see.  One of the things I was busy with this week was visiting with a college friend who was in town.  We went out to dinner one night with several people, including his parents.  I knew his dad did some farming, so I was excited to talk to him about that.  Being a master gardener is something completely different than being a farmer - each may have a lot of expertise, but in my case, it's the farmer that has the life experience and wisdom.

I started the conversation by asking him what he was growing.  He's got peas and onions going right now, with potatoes next week - I said I had peas and just planted potatoes, and planned to put onions in the ground next week.  We talked about growing watermelons in Varnville - if it's not, it ought to be the watermelon capital of the world: I asked him about powdery mildew - he said you had to get them in the ground early, about March 15th.  Very little automation has come to the world of watermelon farming.  The seeds go in by hand and they are harvested by hand.  He told me how many acres he used to farm, but I forgot.  I asked him about late spring frosts and he said they used to set tires out in the field and burn them.  The cover of smoke would keep the frost off of the plants.  He said he reckons that they probably couldn't do that nowadays.  I'm sure he's right about that.

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