Spreading lime

The last two weeks have been busy.

Yesterday I finished spreading two tons of pelletized lime on the field. The process of spreading lime on this suburban farm is a bit different than in farm country where 10 ton lime-filled trucks drop lime directly onto frozen fields during the coldest time of year. Here’s what lime spreading looks like on my one acre.

Ken, from the Agway in Waltham, delivered 100 forty-pound plastic bags of lime to the farm last week. (His 5-ton truck almost got stuck in the thawed soil in front of the hoop house. You’ll see the evidence if you join me for the farm tour this Thursday.) I’d wanted the lime delivered earlier, in February when the ground was still frozen. Since there’s really no demand for lime in suburbia until homeowners start thinking of creating the perfect lawn, there was no lime available until last week.

I borrowed a large, conical-shaped spreader from CY (Vanguarden CSA) and hooked it up to the tractor with the help of WD40 and a big mallet. Then, I filled the spreader to capactiy with 320 pounds of lime and made one pass in the field. Repeated that 12+ times. With the help of more WD40, my trusty mallet and my dear husband’s muscle, the spreader was then detached from the tractor, loaded onto the truck and returned.

The recommendations from the UMass soil lab were for six tons of lime to correct a soil ph of 5.6. I plan to spread more lime throughout the growing season and another two tons in the fall.

My mother is visiting this week. I rushed from my liming duties to the airport to pick her up. I don’t think she recognized me. I waved wildly, jumped up and down, and yelled her name before I got her attention. Admittedly, I didn’t look like myself. I was a bit disheveled, clothed in my favorite tattered farm wear (from the floor of a second hand store in Cambridge), a layer of white lime dust all over me, boots caked in mud. At first I thought she was trying to ignore me, but she says she was just trying to get a little exercise by jogging around the baggage claim area.

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