Zoinks! Is that the sun?

June 11th, 2006, 1:09 pm

I know that many of you must be wondering when the first CSA pick-up will be and some of you may be concerned about the effects this weather may be having on our work. So, I’m sending this email out in order to update you on how we are weathering the weather and to let you know when you might expect to get your first greens, radishes, scallions, spinach, etc…

The gardens and fields at Hope’s Edge farm are experiencing déja vu.

This spring is mirroring the spring of ’05– a dry April followed by an extremely wet May and early June. (This has been the 5th wettest May on record.) These over-abundant and often intense rainstorms have played havoc with our planting schedule and have caused some damage to those crops already planted. The extent to the damage won’t be known until things begin to dry out. What we do know, however, is that many crops which should be planted already will not be planted until much later and this will have repercussions on when these crops will become available. Potatoes will certainly be affected as will sweet corn, one of the lettuce plantings will be missed, green beans will be planted late, as will cucumbers, melons and squashes.

At this point we can’t even walk out into our fields without sinking shin-deep in mud. It is raining as i write this note (Thursday) and rain is predicted for the next 2 days. The lack of sunshine is also affecting the rate of growth of those crops already in the ground– lettuce, scallions, tomatoes, leeks, onions and celery are all standing in sodden soils, waiting for the sun to shine. Some of the finely seeded crops, like carrots, beets and mesclun greens are sitting in standing water and some of them will very likely need to be replanted.

So you might say the weather is challenging us both in our physical ability to do what we need to do, and in our “waterlogged” psyches.

On the optimistic side, early tomatoes were planted in the hoop house in mid-May and are for the most part doing well despite the lack of sunshine.

Perhaps we will have some tomatoes in July? The strawberries came through the winter and look healthy this far. The earliest varieties are flowering now. Yum!

My apprentice for this year, Matt D’Angelo, arrived more than a month earlier than previous apprentices had done. So for the first time I have had assistance in dealing with the early season tasks. We are in the process of building a small cabin for him (and future apprentices) to live in, although this has also been delayed by the rain. Fortunately, however, our neighbors Josh and Ruthie Perry have traded a small camper for a half share. Matt is using this for temporary shelter and is staying dry for the most part.

My partner and I moved into my house in early April and although the house has a few glitches to work out, it is –for the most part– serving us well.

And finally, our very dear cat who disappeared Memorial Day weekend for over a week reappeared a little thinner and very tired, but very much alive.

So much for the highs and lows of the early 06 season. What you really want to know is when you will get to eat your first salad. In the past, I have always had the first pick-up during the third week of June and I hope to continue this tradition. However, I am reluctant at this point to say definitely. The first pick-up is dependant on the weather and those early crops still have some maturing to do. So… I can only wait to see when they will be ready. You may not hear until the week before, so please be patient with us and we will let you know when the time and the vegetables are ripe.

Until then…

Your Farmer, Tom

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