I invite you to read the first entry in an occasional diary--that of a newly minted farmer, my nephew, John Sayles. ( NO, not that John Sayles.) Together with his wife, an experienced farmer, they are creating their own organic spread in Maine.
Once we’d returned home for good from our season at Riverbank
Farm in Connecticut and taken a few days to unpack and organize some
things inside, garlic became our priority…getting beds ready, planting
the cloves, and mulching the beds. We picked a spot on the western
side of the house, an area recently cleared and plowed by our helpful
neighbor and fellow farmer, Pete Bolduc. The area was now carpeted with a
spray of weeds and grass, so we measured out what we needed--two 5-ft
wide, 100-ft long beds--and began weeding.
We still don’t have a tractor, so we’d decided to try a
technique called “double digging” for the garlic. Here’s how it
works: You dig a trench about a foot wide and a foot deep across the
width of the bed. The soil you remove goes into a wheelbarrow for later
use. Once you’re a foot down, you then use a pitchfork to loosen the
next foot or so of soil. Then, you move back another foot, and begin
digging your second trench, this time placing the soil you’re removing
into the first trench, then loosening the next layer, etc. In this way
you move down the length of the bed, really aerating the soil and
preparing it for planting. It’s a great idea, and while Sonya continued
to weed, I started digging.