Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Plan D

So, I believe I promised a post on the lovely potato planting experiment.  Let the hilarity ensue...

Thursday the Husband informs me that Saturday we're going to set out the first half of the potatoes we want to set.  This means that Friday, we had to cut up 10 50lb bags of potatoes so we could plant them.  With sweet potatoes, you just plant the entire potato in the ground (actually you kinda lay them on the ground tightly packed together) and cover them with plastic.  In a couple months, voila, you have plants you can transplant in the field.  With white potatoes, we have to cut the potatoes into pieces, making sure each piece has an 'eye'.  We started just before 9 am and he finished around 3 pm.  So my carport looked super lovely with pieces of seed potatoes spread out on tobacco sheets everywhere.  

Diligently Cutting
Saturday morning started out at 90 mph as usual.  We had people coming at 10 to help get them set and we had to get them sprayed with insecticide and loaded on the transplanter before they arrived.  The Husband had this grand idea to transplant the pieces just like you would a plant.  He even rigged up this PVC pipe thing to make sure the piece got down into the setter without the worker having to lean all down to do it.  Well, we got the potatoes loaded and the people on the transplanter, and we went about ten feet before the first one yelled that his piece was stuck.  For the next five feet I think we stopped every foot with someone getting stuck.  It was decided at that point, after much heartache and colorful language, that The Husbands lovely invention was a dud.  We jerked them out and the workers had to lean down and place the piece in the setter.  That worked for about ten more feet.  They didn't quite understand the object of what The Husband wanted to do, and the pieces kept getting stuck.  So when plan A and plan B failed, The Husband implemented the never-before-mentioned plan C and yelled for me to drive.

I've driven a tractor.  I drove the hayride some last year and will probably do so again this spring for our farm tours.  Driving a tractor is one thing, anyone can drive it in a straight line, it's like mowing grass.  Driving it with a trailer isn't difficult either, you just have to watch your turns.  Driving it while it's hooked up to a machine that is carrying eight people who are planting things in the ground is another.  Not only do you control the direction and speed, but this machine moves up and down to control the amount of dirt knocked off the row and implants potato pieces.  I already have two strikes against me: a) i'm not coordinated, just ask anyone who has ever seen me attempt any sport whatsoever except maybe skiing, and b) I have my irritated Husband attempting to explain this to me on the fly.  I do okay except for the raising/lowering the transplanter part.  Apparently there is this 'sweet spot' you have to hit between knocking too much dirt off the row and not enough, and amazingly I cannot determine where that spot is while The Husband shouts directions at me over the hum of the engine.  I'm either knocking so much dirt it's slowing the tractor down or I'm not knocking enough.  I don't want to give the poor folks on the transplanter motion sickness, but for some reason even though I'm being super easy every time I push or pull on the lever to raise/lower the machine it jerks up and down.  At any rate, I only drive for a row and a half, at which point The Husband decides he can't take another meltdown and since it's not working that well anyway he abandons the transplanting idea and breaks out the buckets.  I maintain that if I was properly schooled in the whole knocking off dirt thing it wouldn't be difficult to do.  The Husband maintains that I am banned from the transplanter. 

View from the Top
Sometimes you have to cut your losses
In the end, it was really quicker for us to do it manually i.e. plan D.  The Husband drove the tractor down the row knocking it off, the workers placed potato pieces, and he went back with a cultivator to cover them up.  Problem solved.  Potatoes planted.  Now in three weeks we get to repeat the process, hopefully without so many bumps in the road.

I really hate to know what plan E was...

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