Week 12: August 20, 2016

Dene eating tomatoes

Dene eating tomatoes in the new pack shed at We Grow

Changing Plans

“It could be worse” might be every beginning farmer’s slogan. Our fall schedule is being rewritten as more produce succombs to last Thursday’s flooding. We continue to get more rain and we continue to see things perishing in our poorly drained soil in the main field. First it was the tender arugula, then the kokhlrabi, parts of the cabbage and brussel sprout rows. Some of the beets aren’t going to make it either. We are even finding the celery is rotting from the root up through the stem. The worst of it wasn’t realized until Tuesday while digging potatoes with volunteer Tom and finding them rotten from standing in water too long. We quickly turned to the carrots – enough for at least six weeks – to find them rotten as well. While the carrots are lost, we do have a sizeable late planting of potatoes in the back field.

Wasting no time, Wednesday we pulled the cucumber vines from the high tunnel, compost was added and volunteer Greg rototilled the beds in the scorching heat. We put in more carrots, turnips, and greens. Then we turned to the caterpillar tunnel, opened up some wasted space and filled it with radishes, mustard greens, lettuces and more. We’ve got more plans this week for spinach, peas and kohlrabi, largely in covered spaces to help us control the precipitation. Let’s hope for some good growing weather yet as we have lots of 40 and 50 day varieties going in the ground the past few days. Just like that, we are changing up the second half of the season as quickly as the weather that brought us this eye-opener.

There is always something to learn from every situation on our farm. In this case, we realized we absolutely must switch to a raised bed system. We own a bed-shaper but avoided using it this spring for we saw it as additional work – an extra pass over the field with yet another implement burning even more fuel. We never had to deal with so much rain in a field of produce before. Chalk it up to lack of experience perhaps, but at this point, we can only do better next time and hope the weather straightens out for the rest of this season. Keep the rain clouds away from Westboro!

Living and learning,

Eric & Rebecca

Week Twelve Newsletter

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