Tag Archives: winter on the farm

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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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.


Frosty Farm

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This savoy cabbage will be especially sweet!

The weather is much cooler than we are used to here in Sonoma Valley. It’s predicted that we will have more than 10 days in a row of below freezing temps. Everything is compromised with weather like this. We’re trying to keep water running as cold crops fare better when the ground is moist but the pipes are frozen well into the day. Couldn’t get the water on until after 2 on Friday.

The crew is starting later, wearing more layers, working in the greenhouse as much as possible, but no denying it’s no fun harvesting vegetables in this weather.

Recent transplanted Red Russian kale is stalled, but not dead.

Recent transplanted Red Russian kale is stalled, but not dead.

The fennel fronds have diamond necklaces.

The fennel fronds have diamond necklaces.

The lacinato kale is resilient but certainly not growing with this weather.

The lacinato kale is resilient but certainly not growing in this weather.

Some of the most vulnerable beds are covered.

Some of the most vulnerable beds are hooped and covered with remay.

The spinach should grow out of this freeze

The spinach should grow out of this freeze

We don't quite know what to expect with our artichokes.

We don’t quite know what to expect with our artichokes.

The cauliflower is nestled down under lots of full, icy leaves.

The cauliflower is nestled down under lots of full, icy leaves.

I think this broccoli wants to be picked!

I think this broccoli wants to be picked!


RAIN vs. DRAIN

D1_7_1We 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.

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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.


Warm Winter Day

There is only one eucalyptus tree left. One that was leaning too severely to gamble felling without first topping. One for a professional. Quite a sight, a little sad and shocking, but we are recovering. The field closest the gone trees, is almost dry enough to begin tilling. Thank you all that helped with this big project, Paul Martinez and his crew that did all of the chipping, the Paul’s Produce field crew and Ralph Romberg who spent many days making this big project possible.

Many projects are tackled in the winter on the farm. Crops grow so slowly in the winter, everything we grow can be sold at a once a week market and our CSA. That will change as the weather warms up more crops are in need of harvest.

There are new shelves in the shop. Organization and the cleaning that happens alongside, is happening.

Another thing that’s happening is the greenhouses are warming up. Soon the humidity will drip from the “rafters” and mist up the camera as soon as the door closes.

But for now, the tomatoes and peppers are in the center on a bottom-heated table. The covers come off each day. Fans and automatic louvered vents maintains temps up to about 85 degrees even when it’s overcast.

As Paul wanders through, he can’t help but scan every flat, pulling tiny weeds spotted among the peppers or lettuces, or thinning where needed.


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