When rain is predicted, all sorts of bells go off in the farmer’s brain, mostly about planting. As most of you know, wet soil is not a good medium in which to plant. The roots will have trouble spreading and could smother altogether. But small plants and seeds love to be “irrigated” by the sky in the form of rain. So planting just before a few days of light rain is ideal.
So yesterday, while I was at the farmers’ market selling out of almost everything we could jam into our blue truck, (thank you loyal customers!) Paul and his small crew were transplanting. Mostly salad crops went in; head lettuces, frisse and radicchio. And beds were made ready with the help of the “new” roterra. The fluffy flat beds will be home to plantings of salad greens including cresses, arugulas, Asian greens and lettuces. These trials will be planted in a dense fashion to hopefully eliminate weeding. Carrots, peas, broccoli raabe and spinach will also go in today.
Here in the west, it rains almost exclusively in the winter months, irrigation with drip or overhead sprinklers is a constant for most farmers. Diversified cropping on small acreage runs farmers up against some water management issues.