Farm News – June 3, 2016
Hi Folks, Firstly, I would like to apologize for having been incommunicado until now. I normally write one or two pre-season updates to keep members apprised of how things are going at the farm. It has been an extra challenging spring this year, we once again got off to a late start owing to winter sticking around until Mid-April. Since then it has been exceptionally dry despite a week of “rainy weather” which delivered barely a half an inch of drizzle during 6 days of gloomy overcast skies. As always, my crew and I have been working hard to get the planting done and overcome the challenges.
We spend a lot of time moving sprinklers from field to field to get seeds to germinate and water new transplants. This becomes increasingly complex as more and more fields are planted, stretching the limits of our water system. Many crops are on plastic mulch with drip irrigation and require far less water, but direct seeded crops and many of the spring transplants are on bare ground and need overhead irrigation – sprinklers. These require more volume and higher pressure and can only be run when all other lines are shut off. This necessitates midnight trips into the field to close some valves and open others and keeps our well pump running constantly (and the electric meters too!). The current forecast is for rain late tonight through tomorrow afternoon, but I have been disappointed so many times in the last 6 weeks…. seeing is believing!
In spite of the impediments and uncooperative weather the farm looks great. We are almost caught up with the planting schedule (we don’t actually stop planting until September). Several varieties of peas came up sparsely and the earliest varieties are just beginning to flower, so peas won’t start until the 2nd week of deliveries, and I don’t expect a stellar pea season. The parsnips germinated at about 10% and had to be abandoned, but we have replanted and are now waiting to see if they come up this time (they take almost 3 weeks to sprout and have to be kept moist, which isn’t easy in 90 degree heat). So while I know that the first delivery of the season will be on the light side, we will get up to speed quickly. The weather is rarely ideal and there will always be setbacks but the important thing is that we never give up. I expect it to be a great season and we are working hard to ensure it will be.
Best, Farmer John