When Is Paranoia is Good Thing? 7th Harvest Week: Tues, Wed, Thurs delivery for July 24th, 25th, & 26th, 2012
Farmer John Writes
Greetings from Angelic Organics
One half inch of rain fell, ushering in somewhat cooler weather (low 90’s). Temperatures in the low 100’s are predicted for the beginning of this coming week. Total rainfall since June 1, about 1 inch – normal rainfall since June 1, about 7 1/2 inches.
Farmer John’s Paranoia
My mother talked often about the drought in 1934, when week after week, the temperature was well into the hundreds, it didn’t rain for months, and crops didn’t grow. Animals died. Farms perished.
In 1999, I put in our overhead irrigation system. I didn’t have the money to size it right, but I sized it right anyway, and it caused a lot of financial hardship. What does sizing it right mean? It means hunkering down in paranoia and imagining it won’t rain at all one season. It means being able to add 2 inches of water per week or 220 gallons per minute to all the fields when irrigating 12 hrs per day, or 3 1/2 inches of water per week to all fields when irrigating 20 hrs per day. It means designing a system around the worst drought imaginable, not the driest weather that might come every 10 years or every 20 years, but a season without any rain at all.
A shareholder chastised me when I was installing our irrigation system, “you’ll go broke doing things like this!”
“I just want a farm that works,” I replied.
You wouldn’t have much in your weekly box this season if I’d taken his advice.
Crop Report, Then
A shareholder wrote wondering why the cauliflower was so small. The answer is heat. Also, it’s been hard to keep the soil moist, even applying two inches twice per week; the water has been evaporating so fast. I’ll add that the broccoli was also small, even for spring broccoli. Our cabbage simply stopped growing.
Flea beetles: these are little jumpy dots of hungry critters; they love the mustardy greens, and, in a hot year like this, they ravage the kale, broccoli, and cabbage seedlings. When you see little holes in your arugula, blame the flea beetles. We typically use row cover (a lightweight, translucent fabric) to keep them out of the salad greens. On potatoes we spray Surround, a clay coating (organically approved) to deter flea beetle feeding.
Crop Report, Upcoming
Tomatoes, eggplant, corn and melons want to leap into your boxes!
From a Shareholder:
Thank you for the wonderful box yesterday. That melon is pure perfume, the beets, natures candy, and I’m looking forward to corn for dinner! You all are the best.
Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.
Brassicas – maybe a small cabbage
Fruiting Crops – tomatos, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, sweet corn, muskmelon and watermelon
Cooking Greens – baby kale
Alliums – red onion
Salad Greens – lettuce
Root Crops – maybe bunched carrots
Herbs –bagged basil