Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Oy vey...I've got clay!

Remember that old Supremes song "You Can't Hurry Love"? I've been humming it in my head a whole lot lately, but changing one word.  And that word is "love."  I'm substituting "clay."  

Sing along now...."You can't hurry clay, just have to wait."

And wait, we do.

Lisa and Emily are itchin' to dig those tomato planting holes

All the heirloom tomato plants have sold exceptionally well this year.  Some people are coming back for more, and telling me the first round is happily planted. (There are still lots...and good deals!) Not mine.  We're waiting.

I do have one hoop house mostly planted to the fabulous Czechoslovakian heirloom "Stupice", and yes, there are green tomatoes. The mulching of these plants is well underway. 

But in the field, the clay is waterlogged. I did plant a bit of my Organic Gardening test garden, but yanked the tomatoes when I saw they were going to bite the dust.  Sadly, some did.

Most fields on this Haldimand clay belt are still unplanted.  Tractors aren't buzzing by out here.  Not like most years. Or like they did 4 weeks earlier last year.

You can't hurry clay.  To work the soil now would ruin it's structure and is pointless. Packing plants or seed into wet clay would be futile.  Clay is made up of much smaller particles than a sandy loam and there is little air in wet clay.  The plants would smother and rot. 

I do love my clay, but in the spring, especially a wet spring, it can be a challenge. 

Clay, I believe, as did my dad, is good to grow on.  I think it makes the vegetables taste better, especially the tomatoes. The vegetables take up the minerals and goodness in the soil and have full-bodied flavour. Over the years I've worked on making it lighter by adding compost and using green manures.  But it is clay.
In a dry year, I'm laughing.  It holds the moisture and watering is not a huge chore.  

This year, who knows. Predictions are for a hot, dry summer, and hopefully one that extends into the fall.  It could turn it all around for me.  But for some farmers, it is too late for early crops, like peas, alfalfa and clover. Big losses already.

How it is.  We play the waiting game!

1 comment:

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

I have clay too! And I never knew that there was a positive to it! Thanks.