California has had a bunch of rain this month. And it’s taken a toll on our fields, especially the artichokes. Wet soil and wind combined to flatten many of the tall, in-full-production, gorgeous plants. I guess the weeds, mud compaction and cold hands are a small price to pay for the groundwater recharge. Onward!
Tag Archives: farming
Yes, celery root and parsnips are making an appearance on our table at the farmers’ market this week. We’re all longing for cooler, wet weather. Wandering around the fields this early evening, I am speechless for the beauty.
Hard to believe but we’re more than half way through 2015. Pumpkins and other winter squash are ripening. The corn is finished, much to the disappointment of our local customers. Tomatoes are ripe and the melons are so aromatic the bees are tumbling around in their flowers. The pictures should speak louder than my words.
Yes, it’s a gully washer. Glad the crew was able to get most everything picked yesterday. Today they pack things into boxes to get ready for deliveries to local restaurants tomorrow. And for the farmers’ market tomorrow morning. The market should be very interesting, with lots of stories to share.
As the crew packed, Paul went out to the fields to check the ditches, the tarps and the general water flow throughout the farm. And he happened to be there as a wave of water washed through his shop and across and under the greenhouse tarps. Up the creek he discovered lots of trash trapped against a bridge causing the water to spread out and overflow the creek bed.
It’s let up some now and I admit to waiting until it slowed to take the photos below. The first two in this post were taken by Paul while the water was at it’s highest. It’s reassuring to see how quickly the water recedes.
Rain is in the forecast, a novel situation for us in “Droughtville” (California). We’ve had a couple practice storms roll through, dropping an inch, more or less, just to tease us. But this week, we’ve heard up to 7 inches could fall. The whole community is excited, hoping this will open the storm door and eventually lead us out of the dry conditions we’ve experienced for several years now. The reservoirs are low and steps are being taken to monitor ground water supplies. We have two good wells on the property we use to irrigate year-round. And so far, that’s been enough. Paul has also switched most crops to drip lines for most of their life cycle, rather than overhead, sprinkler-type watering. We trade off using less water for more plastic and more labor.
The farm prepares for winter rains every year, whether they come or not. As the day length shortens and the nights cool, fields are cleared of finished tomatoes and eggplant, tilled until smooth and flat, composted and finally cover crop seed has been planted wherever we want to give the beds a carbon boost. Ditches are checked and regraded where necessary.
Hoops are set up over beds in case the rain becomes too much for small plants. Plastic covers can be pulled over the top of the hoops, if need be. We’re ready and waiting to have time in the shop, to clean and sharpen tools, to change the oil for the many machines, and to get to the projects that await, like the recently purchased cultivating tractor that needs a new front axle and for the whole under-belly apparatus to be rebuilt and mounted.
So we wait to see how much will fall.
Field restoration is in full swing. Organic farming, almost by definition, strives to improve the soils. Whether by adding organic matter through cover cropping, taking soil tests and boosting nutrients through application of whatever is needed or rock crushing!
Several of our fields are very rocky. Several years ago, Paul bought a rock crusher, which has been earning its keep this month. The rocky fields are slowly (driving as the crusher runs is very slow…15 minutes from one end of the 100 yard field to the other) becoming rock free.
Fall is coming on strong, as the summer crops peak. What to do? Just work a little harder, longer and stronger, knowing that rain will come, things will slow down. There will be time next to the wood stove, with a book and a cup of tea. But for now, it’s go, go, go. So glad we are up to it. And thanks to everyone that works for us or buys produce from our farm. We couldn’t do it without you.
Today we were presented with a beautiful fall day, lots of big fluffy clouds, lilting through a big sky, over hill and dale, casting moving shadows on the undulations below. With just a hint of moisture, as the clouds misted the fields, dampening the dust, sweetening the soil and doubling the scents. It’s teaming with life out there!