The rain watch begins (once again)

Jumbo rain gauge (125 mm)

Another rite of spring on this tiny farm: setting out the (jumbo) rain gauge. I did it today. This model, with its big numbers and fluorescent red float, can be “read at 50 feet”! Or something like that. It’s…jumbo. I stake it in a convenient spot that I pass by several times a day, so I’m never straining… And it’s always somewhere in mind: Scientific Measurement meets wow-I-wonder-if-it’s-ever-gonna-rain-again (except for the occasional year of when-is-it-gonna-stop?!!—but the rainbows were nice).

No sooner does the snow go and the ground dry out enough to begin working, than it’s time to wait for rain. This gauge is calibrated in 5 millimeter increments (about 25 mm to the inch, I think in inches when it comes to rain…). It’s emptied daily as necessary, so it never gets nearly this high. Rainfall is recorded on the field calendar to keep track for irrigation (an inch a week total, rain+watering, is the rough target).

Don’t think I’ve seen it go much above 50 mm (2″) in a day, and that only a couple of times in six years. In the market garden, too much rain is at best not helpful, but too little rain is always plain…bad! Here’s to having rain every seven days or so this season, about an inch at a time, gently laid down over one partially cloudy day, followed by a few days of sun. I’m looking forward to that! :)

4 thoughts on “The rain watch begins (once again)”

  1. hi mike.
    we could use some rain in southern ontario as well….we have 28 acres of barley (under seeded) for our organic laying hens and meat chicken feed.
    my greenhouses and hoophouses are busting…….i did get the snow/regular/snap peas , spinach, radishes, first crop beets and lettuce planted outside……now for a gentle warm spring rain.

  2. Getting enough rain sure isn’t a problem in Seattle!  Our issue is that it takes forever for summer to start.  Here’s hoping you get the perfect amount of rain this spring.

  3. Well, if I could dream big, it would be an inch of rain, TWICE a week ( I have sand, not soil!)   at  NIGHT, followed by sunny days in the mid-70’s.
    Dream big, friend, dream BIG!

  4. Yes, I like Sue’s idea… although an occasional rainy day is good for the soul, too.


Leave a Comment