Tag Archives: rain

Rain Damage

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!

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Artichokes blown down

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Flowering kale

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Hopefully this lettuce will recover when the sun comes out.

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Paul’s shop has gotten more attention because of the rain. It shows in the organization here.

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Asparagus is coming. Must be spring!

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We are rich in cabbage, just in time for St. Patrick’s day!

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These brussels sprouts are about done. They look crazy at this stage, like a big Dr. Seuss flower.


Slammed!

 

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The small greenhouse appears to float…

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Water flows toward the lowest part of the farm.

 

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.

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Also looking toward the low end of the farm, about 30 minutes later.

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A creek ran through the farm until a few years ago. This is where it ran.

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The culverts are big enough.

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This is the lowest bed on the farm. Yesterday’s chicory harvest in stark contrast to the flow of water.

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Getting Wet

Picking broccoli in the rain.

Picking broccoli in the rain.

It rained hard, seemed like all night. Thunder and lightening, which is rare in these parts, shook us awake around midnight. Just what we need. And more is on the way.

Here’s what it looks like this morning.

Lowest part of the farm is maxed out.

Lowest part of the farm is maxed out.

Lettuce beds partially flooded.

Lettuce beds partially flooded.

Drains are working...

Drains are working…

The compost is covered.

The compost is covered.

Good example of why to "bed up". This treatment allows the planting area to dry quicker for earlier planting.

Good example of why to “bed up”. This treatment allows the planting area to dry quicker for earlier planting.

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Battening Down the Hatches

Silvery red cabbage leaves

Silvery red cabbage leaves

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.

Cover crop has been planted wherever possible.

Cover crop has been planted wherever possible.

Lush cover crop.

Lush cover crop.

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 to cover beds await

Hoops to cover beds await

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.

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Romanesco plays peek-a-boo

So we wait to see how much will fall.

Red beets

Red beets

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Rainbow chard is loving this cooler, wetter weather.

Rainbow chard is loving this cooler, wetter weather.

 

Lots of new pipe. The days of moving pipe from field to field are numbered!

Lots of new pipe. The days of moving pipe from field to field are numbered!

Surprise artichokes are popping here and there.

Surprise artichokes are popping here and there.

Moving compost

Moving compost

Attending the compost

Attending the compost

Two kinds of leeks, King Richard on the left and Lexton on the right.

Two kinds of leeks, King Richard on the left and Lexton on the right.

Joanie came to visit on Thanksgiving.

Joanie came to visit on Thanksgiving.

Brussels sprouts are just beginning to form

Brussels sprouts are just beginning to form

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

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New (used) Kubota cultivating tractor

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Front axle needs work

 


Double Header

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!

These kabocha winter squash are close to harvest.

These kabocha winter squash are close to harvest.

Shallots dry under a big oak.

Shallots dry under a big oak.

Rhazes, our new red little gem lettuce

Rhazes, our new red little gem lettuce

Brasiccas ready to go out into the field.

Brasiccas ready to go out into the field.

Yellow wax beans

Yellow wax beans

Rosa bianca eggplant

Rosa bianca eggplant

Lots of San Marzano roma tomatoes, perfect for sauce.

Lots of San Marzano roma tomatoes, perfect for sauce.

We've been gapping with our beet crops, but these are almost big enough to harvest.

We’ve been gapping with our beet crops, but these are almost big enough to harvest.

Celery and fennel, first planting.

Celery and fennel, first planting.

Fennel and celery root, next planting

Fennel and celery root, next planting

Broccoli

Broccoli

Picchu berries, a new crazy delicious berry, we're trialling.

Picchu berries, a new crazy delicious berry, we’re trialling.

Cherry tomatoes are dropping.

Cherry tomatoes are dropping.

Leeks and onions

Leeks and onions

Carrots in the foreground. It didn't rain enough to keep the irrigation from happening.

Carrots in the foreground. It didn’t rain enough to keep the irrigation from happening.

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Rainy Saturday

IMG_5141It’s raining and it’s not stopping. The whole of Sonoma Valley is smiling.

The farm is coping quite nicely, thanks to some planning. There are a couple of flooded beds but for the most part, the ditches are full and doing their jobs.  They have been planted with a cover crop to keep the soil in place, as much as possible. And large sticks and branches have been placed to slow down the flow.

The local ecology center is studying local creeks today, measuring the run off, testing for sediment levels, watching for cloudy water and how soon it clears, among other things. Fish need clear water. When even small waterways hold the water longer, it decreases the amount of water that ends up in the larger creeks, slowing the absorption and helping recharge the water table.

California’s drought has a welcome reprieve with this storm. But no one is fooled or letting down their guard. Having enough water to grow so much of the state’s, not to mention the country’s, produce, is essential to our economy. And it’s scary to imagine California the desert it used to be before the California water project began to move snowmelt around the state.

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IMG_5156 IMG_5162 IMG_5163 IMG_5165  But, for today, it’s hard to think desert.


Summer Evenings…in January?

IMG_5057Yes, it’s weird. The days are gorgeous. We are hearing of snow and cold in much of the country and we sit in bliss with the whole day feeling like a warm summer evening. The sun stays low. It doesn’t get too hot.

We know we need rain. And we’d love to see it on the horizon. But we’ll put up with this loveliness as we don’t have much of a choice.

We’ll be back at the local Farmers’ Market this week, after a three week break. And we’ll have plenty!

Brussels sprouts galore

Brussels sprouts galore

Red cabbages

Red cabbages

Young collard and kales

Young collard and kales

Lacinato kale is crowning up.

Lacinato kale is crowning up.

These lettuces were planted this morning.

These lettuces were planted this morning.

Three different varieties of sprouting broccoli with various maturation dates.

Three different varieties of sprouting broccoli with various maturation dates.


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