Sunday, 1 May 2011

What's in our back garden this year?

We have been in our house for nearly 12 years and every spring we look out of our back door and try and work out what will be in our back garden this year
Our back garden is not really our garden, but one of the many fields that surround us.

We have had a variety of crops over the years, wheat, peas, colza (rape), oats, potatoes ( we were able to help ourselves to any that were left in the field when they had been picked  - by eastern European women, but that's another story). Last year we had sunflowers.
This year we have watched the tractors planting and the wheat start to grow, but right behind our house we have had an empty space for a few weeks now and we could not work out what it was going to be, we thought maybe sunflowers or mais ( corn). 

This is the view out of my bathroom window
You can see our garden at the front, then the wheat, then the empty field, then the wheat again.
Yesterday MOH and I were enjoying the sunshine  in the back when the farmer walked across the field towards us.

This was the first time we had met him. He rents the fields from our neighbour, who stopped farming about 14 years ago. 
Naturally we asked him what was going in the empty space.

Apparently it is going to be 2 metre squares of different variations of mais which will be castrated in July to produce the best grains.
This is something that is very popular with the farmers around here. Mais is grown quite a lot in our area and most of the big farmers do this. It is very labour intensive, they always use young people between 16 & 18 year olds for a couple of weeks in the summer to castrate the mais. Both my boys have done this, D will do it again this year for his second year. They are paid the SMIC, the basic wage.
The farmer told us yesterday that if the results are good they can make a good profit.
This is a picture from last year. It grows really high, then it is trimmed back to make it easier to walk through.
Because the weather has been so warm recently they needed to water in the seeds they had just sown.
This was taken yesterday evening with the water going over the ground
My final photo shows part of our back garden

Can you see the line across the grass? 

This is just one of the dog paths. Miss has created these paths all round the garden and Max is following them too.


Jane said...

By 'castrate' the maize, do you mean remove the flowers at the top?

Cro Magnon said...

Very dry down here. We had a few rumbles of thunder last night, but no rain.... Today maybe!

Tobacco farming has now all but stopped here, so we have all the same crops as you. Triticale is taking over from wheat, but otherwise maize, sunflowers, and colza.