When we got to the end of the cotton planting window last May, there were about 3 acres unplanted, all prepared for cotton by the sheep and by us. So, I decided to mix up the left over milo seeds (that I had been using to separate the breeding plots from each other) and the black-eyed peas (that I plant to enrich the soil and give us food to eat in the summer) and just plant them with the cotton planter and see how they would do together. They seemed to do great, the black-eyed peas twining up on the milo (which is a type of sorghum) and I enjoyed looking at them all season as they were just so pretty. First they were lovely shades of yellow and green and did attract the bees and lots of aphids, which of course created a virtual feed-lot for beneficial insects, my own on-farm insectary! Then they turned a fabulous rust color and were ready to pick. So, Full Belly Farm graciously let us borrow their combine. My neighbor Gary (who helps with all of these ag machinery matters) and I went to get it, I got to drive ahead with the blinking lights warning people on Hwy 16 that a huge machine was coming towards them. Then he harvested the milo, just like that in a matter of maybe an hour what would have taken days by hand was all in an overflowing hopper, wow! Now I have to get some totes to put all this grain into. The chickens should love this, and the soil has a lot more organic matter in it; the sheep will be able to graze that lovely stubble down. Here are some pictures from the day:
The last picture shows how the few breeding plots I got in this year, 8 of them versus the normal 800+ are now easily accessible. Now I can start making individual plant selections, one step among the many in developing a new open pollinated variety.