Since the big plant-a-thon the work has continued non-stop. Dana Fountain was one of the people who joined us for the long weekend and he has been back at then farm since Saturday. We have spent the past week planting every seed we can get our hands on. Lettuce, carrots, beets, chard, spinach, kale, potatoes, corn, melons, squash, okra, herbs, broccoli… Its has been hugely productive. Thanks so much for your hard work, intelligent conversation, and the CBC radio fest. We have also been weeding like crazy with the help of Bonny Do. (Thanks for all your help Saturday.)
We now have 1000s of feet of seeds in the ground. While we continue planting and weeding what we need more than anything is rain. We have had only two days rain in may and no real accumulation of water at all. This means very slow germination, and plants that are struggling. I have been very hesitant to water because plants that are supplied with regular surface water will not develop the root structure that will see them safely through the hot dry days of summer.
We are very blessed in our location in that our soil has a secret stash of water. The top soil is fairly shallow and sits on top of dolomitic limestone. This structure provides water to our crops from below. This happens partly due to a high water table which allows the clay loam soils to wick water up through the ground as it evaporates off the surface. The result is that there is moisture there for the plants. While they aren’t happy about the situation, life is tenacious and so they keep growing in spite of the odds. And when the rain does come they will be stronger for their struggles It’s actually rather inspiring.
While I can wax poetic about the challenges and beauty of our little plants the truth is that this lack of rain is really becoming worrisome. They can only hold out so long, and germination is painfully slow. With this in mind we have sparingly watered the plants that seem in danger as well as some rows that we seeded to help them get started.
The watering is done with the newest piece of farm gear in our roster. The ole manure spreader turned wagon. Lainie and I pulled an old abandoned manure spreader out of the bush and to our amazement the the axles, wheels and tires were all still in working shape. We tore off all the old wood and I went to work with the grinder and cut off all the rusted parts and replaced them with new steel. Then Lucas (Ursa restaurant) and I painted it up to keep it from rusting again (dark grey to match the tractor). I built a wooden frame and deck for it. You can see it in the picture here hauling a tank of water out to the field (thanks for the tank Mark).
We have a severe thunderstorm warning for our area tonight. The wind is howling and the trees are creaking. Let’s hope it drops some of that precious water on us tonight.