Please enjoy the beautiful photographs Hopewell Township resident Mike Chipowsky took of the 38th annual Howell Living History Farm plowing match today. Thanks, Mike!

According to the Farm’s website: “Today’s plowing kicks off a 10-month growing season for Howell Farm’s fall crops: wheat, rye, barley, and the old-fashioned “bearded wheat” known as spelt. There’s a lot of work to be done between now and planting in late September…but luckily the neighbors are here to help out!

“Plowing is the first step in ‘working up’ the soil into a seedbed where the fall crops will be planted. Loosening the compacted layer of soil lets in water and air, while also burying weeds and other organic material as fertilizer.

“When the match is over, our farmers will finish the field by joining the ‘lands’ that the contestants plowed. Next they’ll ‘pack’ down the plowed field with a horse-drawn roller, and slice up remaining dirt clods with a harrow. Finally, the horses will drag a plank across the loose soil to flatten it before planting the field with a grain drill. 

“Fall crops will be harvested next July using a horse-drawn reaper-binder, before they are threshed with help from a steam engine and finally ground into flour.”

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