The Early Bird Gets the Worm

My take on a wet spring… 

Article by James (Sandy) Syburg President of Purple Cow Organics

Farming and the calendar

In organic/biological farming we rely heavily on soil health and function.  Therefore temperature is a key to determining if conditions are suitable for seedbed preparation and ultimately planting.  The first reason is simple plant physiology.  All seed and plant varieties require a minimum temperature to germinate or break dormancy. 

Many of the “old timers” planted when the forsythia bloomed or when the oak leaf was the size of a squirrels ear. 

It’s often hard to resist planting by the calendar.  These old methods used a gauge that took many factors into account and while often occurring very close to the same time each year the plants new best when conditions were right.  Soil temperature can only tell us one aspect of the soils readiness to be planted in.  The other more difficult indicator is biological activity. As soil warms life return.  As bacteria awaken they produce metabolic heat adding to the warming process of the lengthening hours of sunlight.  Planting into cold soils reduces germination and in some instances requires re-planting. 

One farmer friend of mine shared a story recently about a neighbor making the front page of the local paper for being the “first in the field”.  Fortunately they did not come out and take his picture when he had to re-plant. 

Another friend shared the old line:

“If you’re gonna plant twice you need to start early”.

Get your plants off to a good start with more focus on soil.

It’s always a fine line when making the decision to go to the field.  In a wet spring and can become even more troubling.  Often the window to prepare and plant begins to close and you are in the field at less than optimal conditions.  One way to help at planting is with an in-furrow biological support application.  A liquid biological like Purple Cow CX-1 along with biostimulants in the form of sugars, proteins and amino acids found in molasses and fish based products helps get the soil right at the germinating seed in better shape to support the early stages of plant growth.  This works well in any planting condition but when the conditions aren’t the best it’s best to make sure to do what you can to overcome natures obstacles.  And while I have been talking mainly about germination and early seedling vigor let’s not forget the soil.  You may have worked the seedbed just a bit wet or cool.  Giving the soil that jump start will return dividends at planting as well as later in the season.

We all want that strong start to the season.  Sometimes the strongest start given the conditions we are dealt is best.

Purple Cow Organics 100% organic products always work to maximize the potential of your farm. Contact us to learn more.


CX-1 testing has shown earlier emergence due to added energy and biological row support in corn.  In soybeans root nodulation almost doubled by V2 (3 weeks).


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