Plowing & Tillage... Mid-Winter Thoughts – Harris Seeds

From the Ground Up

Plowing & Tillage... Mid-Winter Thoughts

by Jeff Werner

Well we just came off from a bitter cold snap that we have not seen in a while here in the Northeast. For a couple days temperatures did not get out of the single digits. It is perfect weather for grabbing your seed catalogs and dreaming of spring. These catalogs are a work of art and as a grower, it gives me a VIP pass to the work breeders have been working on for years. I find it important to take the time and read the descriptions carefully so I can get the best package possible to fit my operation. The new varieties catch my attention because I like to try at least 4 or 5 new items each year. These new items will give me talking points with my customer base at the markets this coming summer.


Harris Seeds Catalogs
This weekend I will be traveling about 45 miles from my farm to attend a farm auction in hopes of buying a 5 bottom plow I have my eyes on. I like the Kneverland brand made in Norway. These are traditional moldboard plows that pull very easily and do a good job getting the trash turned under. I have a 5 bottom now that I’ve had for about 20 years. I pull it with my 7120 Magnum. I do a fair amount of cover cropping so I need to turn that top growth under so it can start breaking down. I am assuming the plow will not bring too much because most all the big grain farmers in the area are going to chisel plowing or zone building. Reduced tillage methods have their place but at the same time it is difficult to get a clean seedbed for planting fine seeds or using plastic mulch.

Plowing Field
My New Year’s resolution is going to be better organized to save valuable time in the spring. One item on my check list is to spend a few hours replenishing my bolt bin. How many times have you looked for a certain size bolt or nut only to be running to town and getting the right size? So I am making a list and getting my bolt, nut & washer supply replenished before winter is over! I may spend a hundred dollars or so now, but I know how valuable my time is in the spring when I’m trying to get a crop in and rain is coming and I don’t have time to hop in the truck and waste 30 minutes roundtrip to town & back.

As I write this I have already thought of a few other items like some extra lynch pins and clip pins for the hitch pins. Sound familiar? Glad I'm not the only one. I would like to hear from other growers on your thoughts on tillage and how you prepare your soils for planting.

Until next time, 

Jeff Werner
Resident Farmer, Harris Seeds


Jeff Werner, Harris Seeds Jeff is the owner of Werner Farms, a diversified 115 acre, family run vegetable & bedding plant operation in western New York. Fresh market produce, cut flowers and plants are sold mainly through an onsite farm market & garden center, and at local farmers markets in the Rochester area. Jeff is a third generation Harris Seeds customer and is now the Assistant Vegetable Product Manager at the company. Since working for Harris Seeds since 2003, he has worn many hats and has gained experience in the germination lab, packaging, fulfillment, and trials. He remembers going to Harris Seeds as a child with his father and grandfather to pick up vegetable seeds and flower seeds for the farm. Many generations of Werners have trusted Harris Seeds to supply the seeds and plant material that enable their farm to succeed.

1 comment

Jan 11, 2018

Hi Jeff, I have always loved listening to (and reading) your blogs, this one included. I miss working with you and reading your blog makes me feel like I’m sitting right next to you. Keep up the good work and Happy New Year to you and your family.

Gail Otto

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