The game cover was drilled yesterday, and today the spreader came up with a ton of lime. The soil samples I took earlier in the year showed that the field’s pH is very low, so if my crop is going to stand a chance of performing well, some action was called for. I could probably have got away without lime on this particular field but I want to do things properly. If my first attempts to become an arable farmer are doomed to failure, I’d rather it was down to something that was out of my control.
I bought “calcifert” a fast acting granulated lime which dissolves quickly and gets into the soil for instant results, although what it has in speed in lacks in stamina. The effects of calcifert seem to wear off quite quickly, but I can get some proper lime sorted for subsequent years on this field and elsewhere on the farm. I’m now looking forward to the next serious rainfall, which should wash the lime into the soil and get the seeds into a position from which they can think about germinating. It concerns me that the pigeons are looking greedily at the field, but they’re nothing that a 12 bore and a box or two of cartridges won’t sort out.
It occurred to me this evening just how far I’ve come with this project. If you had told me three years ago that I’d be worrying about soil pH and incubator temperatures (grey partridges still going steady and due to hatch next weekend), I’d have been amazed. I assumed that my attempts to manage the hill would involve quite alot of shooting and very little else, but I’ve found that I’ve used my chainsaw and my spade far more often than I’ve even touched a shotgun. I can feel a certain momentum building on the Chayne, and while it’s still early days, each step I take along the way brings me closer to establishing a mixed upland shoot from the remains of a neglected hill farm.