Weather Update from Angelic Organics and More
Last year, we got into the fields in late March. The year before that, we were in the fields in mid-March, the earliest ever. 2011 and 2012 are the only years when we’ve been able to work our silty clay loam soils in March. This spring was the latest we have ever gotten into the fields. As of this past weekend, we have been able to do 3 days of field work all spring.
The greenhouse has been bulging with seedlings, and 8 wagons were for weeks holding seedlings that needed to go into the ground. We got a bit backlogged with the greenhouse seeding of transplants because we were short on greenhouse space, but just a bit…it wasn’t a dramatic delay. Of course, the effort that has gone into finessing the health of the seedlings as we awaited a weather break was unexpected and it added considerable labor and heating expense to the farm.
We have ample equipment, a stellar crew, great field managers, fabulous equipment operators, and well-laid plans. We put 60,000 seedlings in the ground in those 3 days of field work: storage onions, scallions, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, kale, and chard. We also direct seeded spinach, turnips, carrots, and radishes. And four fields of potatoes were finished being planted just before the last series of rains arrived.
I’ll add that 1 1/2 of those 3 days were a Saturday afternoon and a Sunday. I almost never, ever ask the crew to work on Saturday afternoon or a Sunday. But I asked them this spring, and they enthusiastically obliged. The work went at a pace I could hardly imagine: tillage tractors working up the soil in advance, 2 transplanters in action, a seeding tractor purring up and down the beds, wagons full of transplants being loaded and unloaded…a veritable storm of work in answer to the storms of weather.
We are Caught Up
Miraculously, we are now caught up on the field work. By mid-week, we’ll be ahead, which is where we like to have things…a little bit ahead of our projections, to more easily absorb wallops of weather.
In 1974, we experienced relentless rains like we’ve had this spring, washing out 5 bridges in a row on the nearby Kinnikinnick Creek, some of which had been in place for over 100 years. Water oozed out of the sides of the hills, creating sinkholes where fellow farmers and I had never seen wet spots before. In 1994, rain started in the spring and stayed for 6 weeks. Eventually, it didn’t resemble rain; it was more like an ongoing dome of water with a little air mixed in.
It’s now 19 years later. (Notice the approximately 20 yr rhythm in flooding: 1974, 1994, 2013.) I assure you that those lessons learned from the flooding of 1974 and 1994 have ingrained in me a continual sense of urgency to be prepared for weather adversity, to get the field work done ahead of time, to be fortified with systems, staff and equipment that can out-maneuver weather anomalies.
We were in a similar state of weather adversity last year, but then it was due to the drought and heat. Fortunately, we had irrigation systems in place that were vastly over-sized for a normal weather year, but hey…a little weather paranoia mixed with humility and respect is a good thing, if it leads to proper planning and commensurate equipment and infrastructure purchases. This approach kept boxes full to the brim last season.
First Week of Deliveries
We’ll probably make our first week of deliveries as scheduled, the week of June 9. We might delay deliveries a week, due to the cold, wet weather, but warm weather is scheduled for the next several days, so I predict that the crops will catch up enough. We’ll send your share confirmation details at the end of May, letting you know the exact date you will receive your first delivery. (If we start a week later, you will still receive all the deliveries you signed up for, ending the season a week later than we had planned.)
Farm News as it Happens
We post Angelic Organics updates regularly to www.facebook.com/angelicorganics . It’s a great way to see how the season is progressing.
We Still Have Shares for Sale
We would appreciate if you let your friends know that we still have shares for sale, and that we have not been thwarted by the floods and cold. Send them to www.AngelicOrganics.com to learn more about our program and to our Facebook page for ongoing farm news. Offer them this $20 discount when they use coupon code friend20 by May 17th. We love when friends of our shareholders join our CSA. It makes for a cozie community.
Farmer John Peterson and our Stellar Farm Team