The season’s weekly rain watch begins. Weeks start on Monday. The big 25 on the rain gauge is the magic 25mm/1″ mark, the rule-of-thumb ideal for a week—an inch of slow and steady rain over a few hours, and of course all the rest, sunshine, that’s just…beautiful. A 1/2″ is an OK minimum for a bit. More than an inch a week ongoing for a while can be troublesome, depending on the crop and stage its—disease, small seed washed out, bigger seed rotting, whatnot, it is all possible :)—and it does occasionally happen. So far this week, 18mm here and 20mm total, so, doing fine!
It’s a wet December! After only a couple of days of rain, the ground is pretty well waterlogged, to the point where I can’t move the Kubota compact tractor without leaving deep furrows that’ll be totally compacted and eventually dry like concrete. So, before being rained out entirely three-quarters of the way through the job, it was slogging on 100′ round trips through boot-sucking muck, one forkload of hay at a time, to mulch garlic—not a big deal, there’s only a 100′ bed and a half to cover, but the EASIER plan was to use the tractor to push the big round bale to the garlic bed. Guess not. Lesson: Um, don’t wait! :)
A mid-winter flashback to one of my favorite farm photos—it’s just so…hands-on. On the tiny farm, many of the things we otherwise consider inconvenient, like rain and MUD, are actually just fine. Sunny days are NICER, but there’s plenty of room for wet as well. Originally posted on Friday, Aug. 8, 2008, when we were harvesting-around-the-rain. (That’s Michelle.)
It’s been cloudy a lot this season, but the rain has kept pretty much to a reasonable number of rainy days and single downpours—it hasn’t been too WET. So, not that much fieldwork called for rain. Today was an exception, with a steady on-and-off drizzle from early morning that kept things watered down.
Lynn came out around 8:30 am to weed. Since it didn’t look like the sun would be showing up to dry things out, she finished a bed of onions (these are the last-planted onion seedlings, a fair bit behind the rest) and we called it a day for weeding.
In general, we try not to handle plants when they’re wet so as not to spread any sort of disease. This is a common caution for, for example, beans, and I’m not sure how it applies across the board to all garden veggies. Still, since wet work in the field is seldom fun anyway, it seems like a good rule in general: No weeding when wet!
Cloudy, coolish weather continues, and the growing’s so slowwww… At the farmers’ market today, instead of all-new main season veggies, it’s kinda more of the same. No super-early tomatoes (Stupice!), not even BEANS (not even the super-early yellow wax beans…). But the root crops are doing well with the rain, and their colors are…refreshing. Here, purple Purple Haze carrots, and radish-red Chioggia beets, freshly misted, drenched with…color. That’s nice… :)
It’s almost “yet another rainbow,” but not quite. We’ve seen a good collection so far this season, including quite spectacular horizon-to-horizon double rainbows two nights in a row. Which means there’s been lots of rain, and all the cloudiness that goes with it. It’s nowhere near as miserably wet as last season, though—rainfall this year has actually been great, averaging around the golden inch-a-week (2.5cm-a-week)—but 4-5 mainly cloudy days out of 7 is slowing things down.
How slow? The first summer squash that should’ve popped in size in a few sunny days, has been slowly expanding for well over a week. Root crops like beets, carrots, potatoes, aren’t affected as much, and seem to love the rain. But toms, peppers, eggplant and the whole cucurbit family (squash, melons, cucumber) are in slow motion, maybe a week or two from where they’d be with lots of sun.
Still, all in all, everything is growing along well enough, and we’re bound to hit a sunny stretch. Right?
In the photo, a third planting of green and yellow snap beans, with scare ball in place to scare off birds (it seems to work). To the right, a freshly tilled section, waiting for a third planting of spinach… This weather’s great for summer spinach!