Tuesday, September 28, 2004

How to be a farmer: a checklist

My Chuseok was a good time but a pretty busy one. I spent two 4-5 hour days picking Chinese cabbage and three days sneezing from the farm dust.

I learned a little about farming and here is a checklist for farming in Korea.

1) Get a Kyong-ung-gi and a funny hat.

These two-wheeled tractors can do anything you need on the farm. You can pull various plows and trailers, pump water and, well, that's all but it's a lot for a little tractor. If you don't have an appropriately funny hat, you can use a normal hat and wrap it with a towel - a whole new meaning to my late father's non-pc term, 'Towel-head'.

2) Use the tractor to carry pesticide, a tractor sized load of pesticide.

pesticide, not frosting!

I'm not sure if this is my in-laws' cabbage plot or not but I've seen him use similar amounts elsewhere. This is why Korean wash and peel all fruit and vegetables.

3) Use clear or black plastic or vinyl for everything you can think of. You can make temporary green houses and also cover the garden rows in the spring. The black plastic keeps the earth warm and prevents weeds from getting sunlight. When you are done, pick up what you can but if you miss some, or a lot, leave it. Let nature take care of it.

garbage in trees Posted by Hello

4) Despite my being a smartass, farming is tough work. Some time ago (I have no idea how long it takes cabbage to grow and we were picking young cabbage), the in-laws planted several rows of cabbage, and each position in the row had a few cabbage plants growing. I helped pick some of the cabbage, leaving one plant in each position. I spent two days of 4 to 5 hours picking until my back ached. Then I squatted and picked more until my legs hurt, repeating this until I began to whine to my wife who was in equal pain but is a little tougher than I. Here is some of the field:

big-ass cabbage field

5) If all else fails, do as I suggested in a previous post about rice and sell the land so a factory can be built.

building on rice fields Posted by Hello

The fields in this part of Kyeongsangnam-do are now almost completely surrounded by these factories. Every time I visit, I see a few more, and this time, I saw several that were repaired from last Chuseok's Typhoon Mae-mi.

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