The soil in the Orchard is too acidic, its pH is too low. The standard solution to bring things into balance is to add lime. Bruno volunteered to administer the lime, since it was a top priority after Applepalooza. But, Bruno knew nothing about lime or how to spread it.
Kimi brought two pallets stacked with 20-lb bags of lime dust to the Orchard. The Sharing Farm has two lime spreaders. Kimi warned Bruno to wear a mask and gloves, which he did. The internet warned Bruno not to bunch up lime in any one place, otherwise it will kill all plant life in those spots.
Bruno set off with the first lime spreader. It took him about 45 minutes per row to spread 6 bags of lime dust (there are approximately 20 rows). At the end of Row 1, the lime spreader broke.
Bruno continued with a rental spreader (which was probably not a lime spreader but a seed spreader). That spreader lasted only one row.
Bruno was getting desperate and tried to spread the lime dust by hand, with the help of a strong wind.
But then he got hold of a second rental spreader, a heavy duty machine that did the job – the brand is Shindaiwa, rented from Steveston Acme Rentals.
In the meantime, Bruno got the second Sharing Farm spreader into working order, so now there were two possibilities for spreading the lime, one of which required strong arm muscles.
Before long the rain arrived, and although the pallets were covered, some of the bags near the edges became soggy, which made the contents hard to work with.
The pressure to finish was mounting.
One day, two Grade 10 students volunteered and were enlisted for lime spreading. After about an hour the rain made it almost impossible to work. Nonetheless, by then the apple field was limed and the pear field out back was started. The light at the end of the tunnel was visible.
Approximately a third of the work remained to be done. It was carried to completion by Bruno and the new volunteer Bardia. Now it felt like things were moving faster and with less effort. Bruno and Bardia coordinated their work at the Orchard on weekends whenever the weather cooperated.
All in all, the liming took about 20 hours.
Here are some helpful tips (learned the hard way) for next year’s liming:
- keep the lime as dry as possible
- spread the lime in dry weather
- make sure you wear mask, gloves, gumboots, eye protection (goggles, glasses), and shower after each session
- the commercial spreaders work best when half full
- the Kimi-design water bottle spreader works best when you give it a shake at the end of each pendulum movement
- calculate spreading 6 bags of 20 lbs each per row
- make sure there are no clumps
- don’t expect to work for more than 1 to 3 hours per session, it’s hard labour
expect each row to take between 30-45 minutes, depending on humidity, arm strength and spreader cooperation