Rain, Rain Another Day
It has been a challenge to dry out between days lately. We mucked out the potato and carrot harvest last week and we mucked out the carrots and beets again today. It seems like it has been raining every day this month, but of course, that is not completely true. With the cooler temps, the soil in the field stays wet and each day that it doesn’t dry out our fall crops are at risk to rot in the ground. So far, the only crop that we have seen a problem in is the radishes. It could be much worse.
Delicata Winter Squash
Fennel or Beets
Flashback to the fall of 2015, our first year with a CSA membership. We were farming in a low hay field with heavy clay that is adjacent to where our high tunnels are presently located. The soil had little to no organic matter. We got a foot of rain over the course of a few days and all of our carrots, potatoes and beets quickly rotted. We were devastated to say the least! Since then, we’ve discovered other fields on our land have significantly better soil structure and drainage. We also purchased a bed shaper that raises the soil into a 36” wide flat ridge on top of which we have planted most of our fall crops just in case of heavy fall rains. The area we are farming has also been prepared for this scenario. Three years of cover crops have slowly increased our organic matter to nearly 4%. That means our soil has four times the water holding capacity than when we started working that area. Acting like tiny passageways into the clay, organic matter lets the water soak in rather than run on top. But even perfect soil has a saturation point. We’ve definitely reached it at We Grow.
In the fall broccoli, kohlrabi and cabbage plantings, the furrows between our raised beds are nearly filled in with washed soil as the entire area was in standing water last week. Today when we checked on the area, the makeshift ditches were drier but there was still some standing water. The plants can’t take much more wet. Hopefully it will change course soon and they can grow into the crops we need to finish the season. With the warmer weather expected this coming week, the rutabaga and broccoli should finish nicely. Without rain, nothing grows. Too much rain, nothings grows just the same.
Growing for you,