Getting Ready to Plant...

Clay & Iron Peas (Vigna unguiculata) help Prepare the Soil for Christmas Trees

begins a full year in advance. After a field is cleared, it is planted with clay and iron peas (Vigna unguiculata). These legumes are inoculated with micro-organisms that will reside on their roots and activate their nitrogen fixing ability. They also are naturally toxic to soil nematodes.

 Moldboard Plows turn the Soil Under to Prepare for Planting

Then in late summer the peas are cut and left to dry for about two weeks. A fire lane is plowed and the field is burned. The fire speeds nutrient cycling, destroys weed seeds and helps to control insects and disease. A carefully formulated fertilizer mixture is applied to the soil and the field is plowed. By plowing after the fire, the fertilizer and ash are mixed deep into the soil.

International Harvester B-414D Tractor Disking Field after Plowing

The plowing is followed by disking and subsoiling. Harrowing completes the process. And the field is allowed to settle in time for planting in late January.

The Cultivated Field as seen from a Hot Air Balloon is Settling

The field to the left in the picture is settling after the final pass with the harrow. This photo was taken in early December. The field was planted about 8-weeks later.

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