News from the Farm | September 19, 2022

Rain! It rained on and off Sunday and as of Monday morning, it’s sunny but the ground is damp and our rain gauges report 0.75 inches. There’s still some rain in the forecast for later today, but those forecasts have shifted quite a bit so we’ll see what the grand total ends up being. A burst of rain in September before returning to late summer/fall for another month isn’t unusual, but it still felt like a surprise, especially at this point in the long, hot summer. The rain washed off the layer of dust covering everything, making the plants and trees look more vibrant, and while the air is heavy and humid, it also feels cleaner and smells nice too, not like dust and overripe tomatoes.

The rain is going to have a negative impact on some crops, especially fruits like tomatoes and grapes which tend to split, but after so little rain this year, we’re still happy.The moisture will help the walnuts in the last stretch before harvest, and will boost other crops (unfortunately including the weeds).

Last week was already going to be a busy week since in the prior week (the really hot one), we limited activities to only harvesting and washing/packing, meaning that many important things didn’t get done. This included transplanting and direct seeding, as well as maintenance tasks. For those who missed it, I highly recommend reading last week’s News from the Farm where Paul described the heatwave and our water situation, available here. The forecast of rain added tasks. We needed to move crops that dry in the fields into storage (such as feed corn, popcorn, hay, and onions), any packaging or equipment that would get ruined by rain had to be moved under cover or into buildings, and we needed to do tractor work (bed prep, seeding, and transplanting) before the ground was too wet for the tractors.

We did get a lot of planting done last week! Kale, cabbage, lettuce, and other transplants made it in the ground. As did seed garlic, and some direct seeded fall leafy greens. Unfortunately the heat took out the first planting of carrot seeds so those were replanted and we’re waiting on more seed to plant more.

The light rain will be good for the transplants and seeds planted last before the heatwave. The chard powered through the heat, the insectary mix in the broccoli transplants (planted two weeks ago) has germinated and is growing well, and the fennel that got a bit toasted in the heat will hopefully make a fast rebound.

And on Friday we got a new batch of chicks, cute and fluffy as always. Soon enough they’ll be big enough to graduate to one of the mobile coops where perhaps they’ll be joined by one, or both, of our new chicken guard dogs, Prim and Rose, also quite cute and fluffy!

– Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager