Did you know that springtime on an Amish farm begins long before the season officially starts?
That’s right. You see, the previous autumn, after the last of the crops were harvested and the final vegetables gathered from the gardens, the Amish families immediately begin planning for the next year.
First, they prepare the soil. Horse and cow manure is a wonderful natural fertilizer. Depending on the farmers’ preference, he will either spread it with a manure spreader or, after having kept it in a manure pit, spread it as a liquid. Personally, I’m much keener on the manure spreader as the smell is a little less offensive (translation: a lot!). 🙂
During the winter months, the farmer and his children will often walk the fields to collect rocks that somehow never stop appearing in the soil.
Finally, in late February or March, the farmer will begin to prepare the soil for the April planting. Using mules or Belgian draft horses, the farmer will till (or drag) the field (that’s one of my favorite jobs on our horse farm) which helps mix up the soil before plowing and then planting.
For the garden, some Amish women will plant seeds indoors to get a jump start on their vegetable gardens. They, too, will prep the soil in the same way as the fields are prepared.
Remember that the crops on an Amish farm are not just to earn an income but also to sustain the family. Even Amish families that do not live on farms will grow large gardens in order to have fresh vegetables in the summer and canned ones in the winter.
What “crops” are you planning on including in YOUR garden this year?
Sarah Price is the author of the Plain Fame series and the Amish of Ephrata series, among other books. She comes from a long line of devout Mennonites, and her writing reflects accurate and authentic stories based upon her own experiences with several Amish communities. Visit her at sarahpriceauthor.com and on Facebook.