Fields on Fire


| 3/16/2017 12:00:00 AM


Tags: organic gardening, prescribed burning, Heart & Sole, Cindy Barlowe,

Looking over our Across-the-Creek field at Heart & Sole Gardens, it was obvious there was much work to be done before seed potatoes could thrive there.  Johnson grass, my arch nemesis weed, took advantage of the space, fallow for two years, and grew with abandon, leaving tall dried stalks and a jungle of underground tuberous roots.  Other weeds joined the party when our backs were turned, making it difficult to find the defining edges where we planted a few years ago.  After the Ford 3000 tractor protested, straining to churn the mass of weeds, Richard turned to me and said, “There is only one thing to do.” 

field burn start

Beginning a prescribed burn

I saw the sparkle in his eyes when he drove away, returning a short time later with an official document.  He retrieved two rakes and a handheld lighter from the truck.  Handing one rake to me, he gave me instructions. 

“We need to work slowly,” he began. “The breeze is light, but wind can change quickly.  We need to establish a perimeter and a first burn, then work to send the fire toward areas that are burned.  Fire needs fuel and when it reaches the burned areas, it will die.  Your job is to keep it contained on one side, while I do the same on the other.”  Field Burn edge

Burning edges




elderberry, echinacea, bee hive

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