As for me and my house we will serve the Lord....

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Still waiting for rain

Real rain, we had a few quick showers and sprinkles over the weekend, but not enough to matter to the plants. On Saturday morning we planted the replacement tomato and pepper plants (and some petunias) we bought on Friday on the way to Dnepro, hoping that the rainy weather would give them a good start. However, it was more damp than wet out. I watered them with a bucket, since he had not gotten his new water line hooked up yet for the garden.

Garry tells me that some of the corn plants in the fields have a little leaf damage from the frosty morning last week, but it looks like none were killed. A number of people in the village had potato plants turn black and wilt away from the frost, some about a foot high. A few, like Max Rudei, were lucky and had little damage from the frost. Garry tells me it was not frosty when he went outside that morning, then he watched it go from the roof of the car to the ground at 6 am. An hour later, it was gone, the damage done.  Many people in the village have half their large garden in potatoes, so hopefully the plants grow back from underground. It is what they eat (and sometimes sell) to make it through the year.

Monday morning Garry went on his field crop tour with the students and he tells me that the crops are up well in every field except the corn field they plan to irrigate. Of course it was the last field of corn planted and the residual moisture in the ground from the winter is disappearing now. This is only the field they can irrigate because it is close to the irrigation water pipe. Garry and Max went over the plan for irrigating the field Monday night, they are hoping more corn may come up if it gets irrigated soon. They got some more of the equipment they needed yesterday, so watch for photos of the installation soon.

The corn will hopefully come up after getting some moisture in the ground if the seed has not sprouted, but if it has sprouted and then got dry and died, that means... replanting with the fancy expensive seed they bought for that field, I guess.

The irrigation project is courtesy of CRMF, the charitable organization John Wiens started for the school, they sent money to finance the equipment for the start up for this first 25-30 acres this year. The plan is that the crop on this field will be so much better than the non-irrigated fields, since every year the corn grows so well until we get that hot dry weather at some point in the summer and it stops growing. This will mean more profit to run the school, our main goal for the farm. Garry hopes to only grow irrigated corn at some point in the future, and grow more winter wheat, a better dry land crop, since it depends on the winter moisture for a lot of its growing.

Garry plans to turn some of the wheat this spring into silage for the cows to eat until the corn is ready to make silage this summer. Nutritionally it is similar for feeding the cows, and unfortunately we have run out of corn silage to feed them this year. We may plan on feeding them more wheat silage in future years if we grow more wheat, so it will be a practice run on making and feeding it. We have to wait until the grain starts forming for the best silage, so it will be a few weeks before it happens.

Anton using the arm strong method of moving alfalfa
from the wagon to the TMR mixer
Right now a lot of the feed the cows are eating in the TMR mix is greenchopped (fresh cut) alfalfa since we are out of hay now. (In fact the tractor, chopper and wagon just went out of the driveway at 8 am Wednesday morning to cut some more.) There is grain too, which is still ground up using the mill in the hay mow by whichever student is working here that day and put into bags to get dumped into the TMR machine. Garry's favorite is Leila, who instead of filling 3 or 4 bags, fills every one she can find. Last week she filled 14 the morning she worked, she likes to keep working, some of the students prefer sitting in a wheelbarrow in the sun these days.
Putting corn in the bin

 On Monday and Tuesday the guys refilled the bin that the whole grain is in upstairs in the barn. The bucket brigade that we used to do this with has been replaced by an auger that came in the container, so it is an easier job now, requiring less guys.

 Of course we are very close to haying time now. Last week the alfalfa was almost tall enough to cut, so they could start soon, if the wet weather doesn't materialize. Of course, Garry says that you can never complain if it's raining in Ukraine when you are a farmer.

The weather forecast is calling for more wet weather, let's hope it's actual rain that helps the crops. Monday afternoon Garry got his water line ready to more easily water the garden (with a sprinkler) and replanted his two rows of sweet corn in the garden. Only 3 corn plants had come up, more due to bugs (worms) than the dry weather however. Garry dug some up to look at them and they had holes in. We seem to have this problem every spring. The neighbor told him to buy some good insecticide.

The garden got a good soaking yesterday with the sprinkler and the irrigation water, hopefully the rest of my seeds come up now. If not I may be replanting more stuff  too. Maybe I should dig the beans up and look at them like Garry does with his corn.

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