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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spoon Feeding Nitrogen to Wheat

Last week, the Farmer and I spent several days (I lost track of the week about Tuesday) giving the wheat a little fertilizer.  Just like the corn, on our farm we don't apply all the fertilizer the plants need at once.  If we get a big rain, it can dilute the fertilizer and possibly carry it deeper in the soil where the roots may not grow to reach it, so we try to apply fertilizer at different times.  We also try to apply when the plants need it.
The ground view level of the wheat last week.  It will really start growing fast with the warm days we are getting, the rain we were blessed with last week and the added nutrition.
On the wheat, holding back part of the fertilizer controls the growth of the plant.  We don't want the wheat to grow too fast before we are sure Spring has truly arrived.  A late freeze on big wheat is not a good thing just like your hostas don't like it when they are out of the ground and it freezes again.
Wheat really needs to be dark green to show that it has all the Nitrogen it needs to grow.  The neighbor's wheat definitely has a yellow tinge to it showing it needs some more nutrition (aka fertilizer).
Farmers use a combination of dry and liquid fertilizers.

The dry fertilizer is like the pellets you can sprinkle on your lawn or that you see mixed in your Miracle Gro potting soil.
The spreader we use just happens to be A LOT bigger.
The liquid fertilizer is like the Miracle Gro that you mix with water to apply.  We use our sprayer with special "tips" that put the fertilizer on in a stream.

I spent several hours a day last week in the truck hauling liquid fertilizer to The Farmer.  After school, the boys "got" to go with me.  Homework was done in the truck.

Still researching Massachusetts agriculture on mom's phone.

Anyone that thinks that all kids need an electronic device haven't met my 7 year old.  He begged to stay at the field to finish his project with a stick and the dirt in the road.

 Just makes me smile!  How about you?
 I couldn't get enough pictures of his intensity and dedication on this project.

Applying fertilizer takes way more time than if we applied it once, but it is better for the plants, the soil and the environment.  And it gives us lots of extra family time without the distractions of a TV.  :)

-A Kansas Farm Mom