June 14, 2017
The past week has been very rainy as you all know. So how does that impact a vegetable farm?
The answer to this question depends on a lot of things. Is the soil on the farm free-draining sand or heavy clay on the banks of a river? Has the farmer anticipated the impact of rain and decided to grow in raised beds? Are the newly sown seed trays kept in a greenhouse for protection from a downpour? Is the ground already sodden, even before the rain, because of over-watering? Or has there been some forethought with the irrigation schedule? Is there a dry area to wash and pack vegetables and get a break from the wet? Are there indoor tasks that have been saved up for just such an event?
Luckily, although we are on a riverbank and most of the soil is heavy clay, we do have some pockets of sand at the farm. This allows us to grow in a variety of soil types all the time, thus spreading the risk of losing a crop. Although our beds are hilled up, in the clay soil area we did have very wet gutters for a few days this week. However, as the soil underneath was fairly dry and hadn’t been watered the day before the rain, these beds drained and dried up pretty fast. Even with a low evaporation rate due to the cold weather. No crops were lost.
During the days of rain, the harvest was washed and packed in the farm shed. In between times, our half-constructed tunnel provided enough shelter for seed-raising to be done. There was also computer work, phone calls and other indoor tasks that could be caught up on.
So, for a successful farm, you can see that planning is vital. A little forethought and a nod to the weather extremes of this beautiful land go a long way. If you are growing veg, next time it rains, put on your gumboots and go outside and observe the rivulets and the puddles. You might just learn something.
Yours in veg,
3 days after the rain