In The Blood, Time To Plant

AAshare-173498It’s 9am on the dot when I pull up to the farm. I walk behind the barns to men each prepping a tractor of their own like the battle is about to begin.

AAshare-173527(Wes filling up his tractor.)AAshare-173538AAshare-173543There was a point when we were sitting in the garage doing nothing. I thought to myself, “This must be the calm before the storm.” I asked Marshall what happens now. “We wait for Andrew.” No more than 5 minutes later, you hear Andrew ripping up the driveway. “Here we go.” I thought.

AAshare-173562“Kyle, I need you to head over to the field and just get it done. Marshall and Wes, come with me. I’ll drop you off at the other farm.” Andrew says hopping out of his beaten pickup. The energy is urgent, but Andrew isn’t impatient. We’ve all witnessed a leader make the mistake of thinking productivity is found by shouting and demanding. But there is none of that. Andrew is more excited than anything. Today is the day to start planting.

AAshare-174038AAshare-174059The tool attached to this tractor is called a mulcher. It’s a finishing tool after cultivating (turning over dirt) the field and creates a great seed bed.AAshare-174126Brian spraying insecticide on the field before it gets mulched.

AAshare-173621AAshare-174229AAshare-174271Andrew starts up the weed whacker to cut the tops off the Swiss Chard starts. It makes it easier to plant. AAshare-174277Planting Swiss Chard – an “archaic” job as Andrew would say. At .6mph, I could literally walk faster than they could plant. An acre doesn’t sound so bad, but 100 is another story. AAshare-174259AAshare-174321It takes 7-8 guys to plant Swiss Chard. 1 driver, 4 planters, and 2-3 walking behind to check for mistakes.AAshare-174624AAshare-174424To avoid cross pollination, you plant what is called a “start” – a slice of dirt with the plant’s root system intact.AAshare-174497AAshare-174448Andrew is always working. Even while working.AAshare-174577AAshare-174688AAshare-174726Each plant is spaced a foot apart. To avoid gaps, the guys follow the tractor in case of any error. It seems there are more errors than not. AAshare-174652AAshare-174747After 3 hours of covering 2 acres, the rain begins and the light fades. Andrew calls it a night as the guys exhale in relief.


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