Yikes! We’re 3 days into summer and rain is predicted. Possibly more than an inch over the next couple of days. That is a very unusual forecast for this spot on the globe at this time of the year. The impact for the farm and the crops is minimal though the moisture will certainly encourage weeds to germinate all over the place. Formerly clean beds will need attention before the crop is over run with something unwanted.
Tag Archives: rain
We had quite a storm on Sunday. Our buckets indicate 6+ inches. Before we left for Christmas festivities and a 2 hour drive south through the downpour, we drove around the farm to get an idea of how the new drainage was working. And what we would have available in the coming weeks.
We were well prepared for this huge storm. The fields look darn good and there is plenty to harvest out there, thanks to recognizing how to make things better and having the equipment and carving out the time to make it happen.
Rain is expected tomorrow. So much to do to prepare. The crew is racing to finish picking and packing for the restaurant orders and the Farmers’ Market, so they can go out in the fields. Planting, covering beds, harvesting …
Paul is spending his day on the tractor…from one to another, spreading the new pile of compost before it needs to be covered and the fields are too wet to drive on. Getting another application of compost on now, then allowing the rain to soak it in, will do everything a world of good.
There is a lot going into the ground today. There is a greenhouse of perfect-sized plants, and prepared fields, dry enough to plant into. Plus, it is a dry day before predicted rain! Seeing the opening, last night, Paul quickly made a planting map … the day’s work.
The crew will work all day, filling the blue truck’s bed with flats of plants and driving to the edge of the ready bed. Then one worker, usually Servando, walks along the row, separating the plants from each other and the plastic flats, then as he walks along, he drops the plant in the row. The furrows are marked with a shallow trench by a tractor mounted shovel. The “dropper” is followed by someone on his hands and knees, quickly scooping soil around the seedling, standing it up and pressing firmly around its stem. When the rows are finished and the water is giving them their first drink out in the field, it’s a little thrill.
This planting includes broccoli, celery, fennel, leeks and onions. They were started in the greenhouse in Feb. This is the first large planting of the year. There is room in the greenhouse for more flats to be started. It feels like the real start of the year. The first crop ready to harvest will be Napa cabbage in about 6 weeks, toward the end of May. Celery, leeks and fennel need 80 days before you’ll see them on the farmers’ market stand. Some of the onions need 100 days.
Our fields probably got 3-4 inches of rain last week. It messed with last week’s Friday Farmers’ Market and allowed us to begin our restaurant deliveries again. Nothing flooded, no crops lost, just a little mud and the wind has ripped plastic covers. We’ll carry on and are happy for the boost to the water tables around the county.
Today the farm was busy with field preparation. It feels like spring. But there was added urgency because much needed rain is predicted. Not just trace amounts, but possibly days of the wet stuff which will hopefully be able to bring us closer to some kind of rainfall normal. We’ll see.
One field is being readied for some long overdue cover cropping. This field has been in constant production for many years, but in the interest of restoration and more fall production, it’s getting tilled, composted and planted with a “green manure” crop which will grow through the spring to build a better soil. In June or July the crop will be incorporated into the soil to augment the fertility and enhance soil structure. The vegetable crop that follows should get a boost from this process.
Another field is being readied for peppers, eggplant and tomatoes, about a month away from target first planting.
Our salad production is in full swing. Rows of colorful lettuces are in stages, some ready to be picked, some already grown past their prime. And some rows are just emerging, barely there yet full of promise. The head lettuces are grown in the greenhouse then transplanted and covered to keep them warm. The covers have been a huge help this year, allowing better growth for many crops, including the kales and chard. The plastic is a bit tricky to attach to the hoops that cover the bed and when it is windy, checking the covers is the first chore of the morning. But even with that issue, the covers are a plus for us.
We are almost out of carrots, but this week was our first harvest of baby Tokyo Turnips and Green Garlic. You can see the beautiful turnip greens are plentiful and vibrant. The next carrot crop is just to the left. The rainbow chard is just out from under covers and shining. Spring is springing.