This Week on the Farm 6/26
Last Wednesday in the middle of the night we had a little over a tenth of an inch of rain. Since then we haven’t had a drop. The next seven days show no rain in the forecast. This means more time spent irrigating, and less time spent weeding or working on other projects. So far our well seems to be holding up, but we need rain soon. Without rain, plants do not grow, and when plants don’t grow, our job of putting veggies in your boxes becomes more and more difficult.
We would like to give a big thank you to my sister and her husband for coming down and helping us out on Saturday. Thanks to all of their help we were able to weed the celery and some of the romaine lettuce. We also weeded 3/4 of the carrots and sucked Colorado Potato Beetle larvae off of half of the potato field with our gas powered blower/vacs. It was a busy day. If you are ever interested in being a farmer for a day, please let us know! We are always looking for help!
Yesterday, we finished removing the beetle larvae from the potatoes and started hilling them. Potato tubers will turn green when exposed to light, so we use hoes to pull the soil up around the base of the plant to make sure any of the potato tubers are protected from the sun.
With a couple of our employee’s help, it took us around four hours to hill a little less than half of the field. We are thinking about buying hilling equipment that mounts onto the tractor next year. It is hard on our employees’ backs hoeing potatoes all morning and it would be much less time consuming if we could use the tractor.
I took a look back on last year’s photos of the boxes and you can certainly see the difference the lack of rain and all of the heat has on the vegetables. The kohlrabi are still at least a week away from having enough size to go in the boxes. Last year at this time they were ready to go.
I am a little concerned that by the time the kohlrabi are large enough to go in the boxes, they may have started to turn woody because they are too mature. Stress oftentimes causes plants to mature rapidly, and we are living through a very stressful period as far as the plants are concerned. Like with a lot of things on the farm, we are playing a waiting game with the weather and hoping for the best. In farming, you plant your seeds and wait to see what Mother Nature has in store for you in any given year.
I think one of the best things about working on/being a member of a CSA is the increased awareness of what is happening outside of your window. I feel like before we started farming and we were doing a lot of our shopping at the grocery store that I 1)did not have any idea where my food was coming from and 2)did not really understand the full impact of local weather on my food. When you are buying things at the grocery store they can ship food in from wherever the market is doing well. Now we are extremely aware of what every drop of rain is doing to our crops.
In some way, the hyper-awareness of the weather that Tyler and I now have makes me feel closer to the land and to all of the people before me who lived off of the land. I now understand, to some extent, the level of anxiety that people living through the Dust Bowl of the ‘30s or the drought in ’88 must have felt. It is a strange feeling of camaraderie that I know I never would have felt if I worked in a greenhouse.