It can be mesmerizing to watch a plow pull through the soil, revealing the darker earth beneath and with that hope for an awesome farm season and possibly a buried treasure. This weekend, we took advantage of the combination of a long weekend and unusually perfect weather for plowing. The moisture was just right in the soil and the tractor was recently tuned up for spring.
There have definitely been years when we have not been this lucky. There can be many hurdles to getting the beds plowed in time for spring planting. If the ground is too wet, you can compact the soil by driving a tractor on it. If the ground is too dry, it can be dusty (think dust bowl) and the plow might just scrape at the hard ground. And when the weather is right, your tractor has to be running.
I love to scan the ground behind the plow looking for bits of local history. We farm on former tobacco fields so I am looking for pottery shards or tobacco picker checks. They were the tokens they used in the 1800’s to keep track of how much tobacco a worker had picked, click here and scroll down for an image. I am also looking for anything made of metal a British soldier might have dropped when they marched through to invade Washington in 1812. They came up the nearby Patuxent River and marched through our neighborhood and possibly our farm. (More on that here. There are big plans for 200 year anniversary.)
No luck in finding treasures yet, but there is always a certain thrill in being the first to scan newly turned soil. There is a great sense of potential, both in looking back for scraps of history and in looking forward to what will be planted and harvested from these garden beds in just a few short months.