Rain, Rain, Rain . . . that was the overwhelming feature of the first months of summer. May and June had record precipitation amounts and I think some of that was in the form of snow around Memorial Day (remember that?!). In just the first week of July, we had already topped our average monthly amount.
Too much rain has made it a challenging growing season for farmers throughout our region. Initially here on Luna Bleu Farm, the main effect of the cool, cloudy, and rainy weather was just that crops grew slowly in June.
As July progressed, we started to see more diversity in our harvest. Cukes and zukes all of a sudden came in with a gusto, hooray. Eggplant, peppers, and beans began to enter the CSA shares.
There are challenges ahead: d i s e a s e (shhhh, say it quietly), which can thrive in overly wet weather. Remember the poor tomato year from a couple of years ago? Late blight might be right around the corner again, which could devastate tomatoes or potatoes. Fingers crossed . . .
We lost some of our more tender salad greens to general rotta yucka (technical term) and we are seeing lovely purple blotch on our alliums (that really is a technical term, meaning onion family and purple blotch is a real name for a disease they can get). We have some certified biological fungicides that can help keep the blotch at bay, but all the rain makes it hard to spray anything that won’t just wash away before it can be effective.
All this rain also leeches out the most readily available nutrients down into the soil (or away in surface runoff if it is too bad) so the roots can no longer reach them. We have been sidedressing our crops with organic fertilizer to so they will still have a balanced growth (in addition to the fall and spring soil amendments we work into the soil before planting).
Then there are the weeds . . . egad! Our grand crew has been doing a lot more hand weeding than we ever want, with little alternative. If we use hoes, the weeds just regrow, and when it’s wet, the weight of a tractor or walk-behind tiller damages the soil structure. Farming is always a lot of handwork, and sometimes more than others.
As soon as we get some drying weather, we will see what we can do, may be some long days in the field.
On the bright side, we haven’t had to spend too much time moving irrigation pipe . . . there you have it: farming, always interesting!