Notes from the Field: Week 7
Notes from the Field: It’s pouring!
I was going to write more about weeds this week but something much more exciting is happening as I write: it’s raining! In the last few weeks we’ve had negligible rain, when our crops need at least one inch per week. We are still “abnormally dry” according to the US Drought Monitor. Even just pushing a hand-seeder this morning created massive dust clouds in our fields. Our beds with long-season crops were taking the dry heat okay because the soil hasn’t been disturbed in weeks, but all our quick-growing crops had been planted into dry beds and were looking parched.
On days with a definite forecast for rain (I only pay attention if the forecast calls for 75% chance of rain or more, to avoid heartbreak) we always have a long to-do list. This newsletter is coming to you late in the day so we could all focus on the fields this morning! We weed beds that have young crops in them, to encourage the crop but not the weeds to grow quickly after the rain. We plant and seed as much as possible to avoid irrigating. This morning the crew weeded our PYO flower field, dill, basil, and lettuce and planted lettuce, zucchini, and summer squash. I seeded dill, cilantro, sunflowers, bok choy, and 2000 feet of carrots for the fall. Planting before the rain, with fat, grey clouds building overhead and our hands moving as fast as possible, always feel epic and timeless. It’s an experience every generation of my family shares stories about, something we can read about in any Laura Ingalls Wilder book, and a feeling every farmer and gardener, all over the world, no matter how large or small, knows well. As we wrap up our tasks and feel the wind bringing in the first few fat drops of rain, I love knowing that every farmer in the area is sharing the same universal sigh of relief.