Friday, August 5, 2011

August 3 - Too wet for words

Last Wednesday afternoon it finally started to rain.  The fields were dry.  Anything that wasn't irrigated was small.  Even the purslane was wilting.  It was a nice, steady rain.  And it continued.  And continued.  Around 3 a.m. it was a torrent.  In the morning we awoke to a front garden that was 3/4 under water, a rain gauge that tops out at 5.5" which was overflowing, an east garden with some flooding and a west garden with a stream running from the back of the property to the front.  I hooked up the sump pumps and was able to drain the front garden within the day but the west garden contains a low spot which collects water from all around.  So the water level didn't go down.  Thursday night I was hopeful that the rain would hold off but it started raining around 11 and continued.  We received another 1 7/8".  I am sure that we had over 8" of total rain.  The front garden flooded again and the west garden level rose.

So, I bought a gigantic pump.  It took 2 days to pump out that water to the front ditch.  Fellow farmers who grew up on this land say they've never seen anything like it.  I don't know what the future holds but now we're looking at creating some sort of retention pond with an overflow to help keep this from happening again.

Most of the crops will be OK but we did lose a few rows of melons which is disappointing, along with over 200' of fall beets, New Zealand spinach, many of my winter brassica starts and some lettuce, basil and savory.  Also some parsnips and other root veggies.  Needless to say it is hard to have a loss. 

We had seeded a lot of crops in the east garden on 7/23.  I re-seeded this past week, just in case they were washed out.

The good news is that the hoop houses are OK and it appears that most of the crops in the fields will be OK too.  I'm still unsure because some plants are showing evidence of root rot but we're hoping that almost everything makes it. 

I went through the melon patch yesterday and see that there are over 100 melons on the vines now.  Hopefully there will be more but at least everyone will receive a water or musk melon or honey dew.  We might not all have a melon in the same week but over two to three weeks, all should have at least one, and probably 2.  So I'll probably put melons on the honor system (i.e. take one if you haven't had one yet kind of thing).

In the mean time, we have cabbage and a lot of it.  I was considering selling the excess but will probably distribute this instead to CSA members over the next few weeks.  Since some of the lettuce was washed out, I'm anticipating a shortfall in salad makings in 20 days or so.  Maybe we'll have baby brassicas to sub in.  If not, keep your cabbage.  Wrap it up tightly in a couple of layers of saran wrap and put it in your fridge.  It will keep for months this way.  Or, you can make sauer kraut or kim chi.

Think sunny thoughts with an occasional rain shower for the rest of the season.

Many of you have let us know how much you're enjoying the veggies and have let me know how they appreciate knowing what's going on around here.  If you have any comments on quantities (like you'd like larger bunches or smaller bunches or more onions/week, or whatever) please let me know.

Thanks!