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Thursday May 31st 2018Tim Candler9

 

    It wasn't so much a feep-out on my part, it was more a question of cleverly exploring the alternatives to sacrificing access to the weather radar for an unknown period of time by doing things like 'far too busy to go to the Post Office, maybe tomorrow.' Then, thank goodness, I got the call to arms. The professionals had decided that in anticipation of the Full Moon beginning to wane, which apparently is a guarantee of some kind of rain, the plan was to replant by hand those more cantankerous parts of the Tobacco Field that had failed to sufficiently succor Tobacco Seedlings. Each of the two thousand plus new seedlings would be planted with a dribble of water. To get the water to where it was needed buckets of water would be carried. In context, the entire field was originally planted with around sixty thousand Tobacco Seedlings. And there was a moment from the apprentice that felt the need to suggest that the percentage success rate was pretty damn good, and at the same time the apprentice had a real understanding of the intense depression and personal insult that can be produced by gaps in any row of plants.

 

Past

    In times past a Tobacco Field didn't have to be that big to realize a profit, but Tobacco is a hungry plant, a field soon spent, the ground gets tired, which meant a new spot had to be found or cleared for the Tobacco. A smaller plot was way more manageable. Pests that tolerate and thrive on Tobacco could be hand picked and you could even think about waiting for the last frost to sow Tobacco seed, which are tiny little things, germination temperature for them in the upper seventies Fahrenheit, then hope for a nice long year with no surprises in May or September. More recently to realize profit the size of a Tobacco Field has to take account of costs that include machinery, tractors, planters, pesticides and fertilizers. And it's not just any old fertilizer. If you use the wrong combination of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium the buyers can tell by communing with it that your Tobacco isn't good quality. And yes, the fertilizer costs twice as much as the seedlings. Either way the general opinion amongst the professionals was to place the blame firmly on the borrowed carousel planter. As I understand it, the mechanics of a carousel planter are such that for it to achieve perfection the ground has to be pretty much a fine, clodless, heavenly tilth, which is not something that comes easy around here.

 

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