Farm Fields

A common site in the Salinas Valley during the 1910s, Pajaro Valley Consolidated cars parked alongside agriculture implements.

My layout is set in the fertile Salinas Valley, nestled between the Gabilan and Santa Lucia mountain ranges. The landscape is dominated by agriculture fields (primarily sugar beets in the time period I model), and I needed a way to effectively replicate those in miniature. After a few different attempts, I found that I could create a simple, effective scene, using styrene, spray paint, glue, and ground turf.

The Salinas Valley

The base is made with corrugated styrene, (from Plastruct), that convincingly replicates irrigation furrows approximately 12-15" in width, cut to the shape of my field. I then spray both sides of the piece a dark black or brown. This will be useful if/when the ground cover chips off in the future. Once dry, I coat one side with a spray adhesive, and cover it with a liberal coating of ground cover. This will act as the soil, so any dark color will work. I used Woodland Scenics fine turf "Earth" mixed with "Soil". Once this was dry, I shook off the extra turf and reapplied as necessary. After I was happy with the coverage, I glued the plastic field to the layout. At this point, it looks like a field in between plantings.

The furrows before crops are planted

I wanted to include crops, and I found the best way to do that would be tedious, but it works. I laid a thin line of white glue down each row in the field, then sprinkled on green ground cover. Ideally it lands in a nice row. Fortunately, real crops aren't perfectly straight, so gaps and a bit of randomness adds to the look. 

In the future I'll clean up the edges with some black paint. For now, I'm pleased with the results. 

Products Used
Plastruct - PS-13 HO Scale Corrugated Siding
Woodland Scenics - Earth Turf (fine)
Woodland Scenics - Soil Turf (fine)


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