Haying season in NW Pa: Farming Lore and Garden Tips

Haying season in NW Pa brings back many memories. As a child I helped the neighbors bring in hay and it’s a tough job. Often after a hard days work we would have dinner at the farm where we helped.

There were usually stories that brought laughter and sometimes events that you looked back on with horror. The worst event I remembered was when the one wagon flipped. Luckily no one was hurt but the wagon was destroyed and all the work of loading the wagon was lost in a matter of seconds.

The haying season is late this year with all the rain but we have had several days of sun and warm weather so the hay wagons were passing the house every hour making up for lost time and making sure the crop would be brought in before the next rain.

As I headed downtown I was behind one wagon being pulled by a truck. The wagon was swerving quite badly, a common problem with hay wagons that are trying to keep a good pace on a busy paved road. I was lucky and they turned into the next small towns exit.

I also passed a large hay field about a mile away that had eight hay wagons that were being loaded with hay bales as fast as possible.

Haying is interesting to watch and having hayed as a child I know the hard work and danger it presents. For the farmers sake I hope we have a few more day of sun and no precipitation.

Tips: Hay or straw in the garden.

I use hay shard and broken hay bales in my compost bin to break down and add fresh nutrients to my soil for the next year. I don’t use hay in the garden because it bring in too many new weeds. But if it’s broken down in the compost pile the seeds are cooked in decomposing and will not sprout in my garden.

I use straw as a ground cover and mulch to retain water in the garden and keep the plants roots cooler in warm weather. I also use it in lasagna gardening, and for planting potatoes in. Potatoes planted in containers with soil to start the roots in, then covered in straw as they grow will produce more potatoes and they are clean and easy to harvest, just dump the container and no digging is necessary.

Tags: harvesting hay, uses for hay and straw in a garden, garden tips, farming memories

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Denise

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