5th Harvest Week for Tues, Wed, & Thurs Delivery on July 10th, 11th & 12th, 2012
Farmer John Writes . . .
Greetings from Angelic Organics
Weather & Water
Normally, we make sure that our crops receive an inch of water per week. There are some variations on this. Sweet corn at tasseling time receives 2 inches per week. Onions with their shallow roots need 1/2 inch of water twice a week. Germinating and emerging carrots need 1/2 inch of water every five days or so. Peppers can never get dry, or they’ll die. Tomatoes can get dry and start to droop a little and they easily recover from that stress when they receive water. Zucchini and cucumbers receive about 2 inches per week when they are in full production. Potatoes receive 2 inches per week when forming potatoes. Water for melons is withheld once the melons are about half-sized, to help them become more sweet. Oh, and overwatering can cause shallow rooting, which means the roots will not draw as many nutrients from the ground. We tend to underwater when the plants are in their early stages of forming, and then water heavily when the vegetables are forming (with the exceptions of melons, as mentioned.)
When I started the above paragraph, my point was to let you know some baselines for watering our crops. The default rule is 1″ per week. We modify the rule for certain crops. Of course, it usually rains here. When it rains, we don’t have control over that way of watering. It rains as much as it rains. If it doesn’t rain enough, we supplement with irrigation. If it rains the right amount, great, we don’t irrigate. If it rains too much, there’s not much we can do to mitigate it.
Much of what I have learned about irrigation over the last 22 years does not apply this year. This year, it’s been like growing crops on another planet. Irrigation has been the lifeline for our crops this season, almost the sole source of water. We are applying 220 gallons of water per minute, covering four of our 2/3 acre fields with 2 inches of water in 11 hrs. But our fields are dust. The water seems to evaporate or dissipate two or three times faster this year than in regular years, when we are just supplementing the normal rain fall. In a normal year, a half-inch of irrigation water on the carrots will keep the surface of the ground moist for 4 days or so; this year, within 24 to 36 hrs. of irrigating, the soil surface turns to powder. Moisture dives below the onion root zone within two or three days of irrigating. Corn leaves curl from thirst three days after they receive 2 inches of irrigation water. So we irrigate more heavily and more often in an almost unrecognizable environment of heat and sun. Overall, the crops are still fabulous. The heat wave is likely to dissipate this weekend, though no rain is forecast for the next several days.
Crop Report, Now and Upcoming
The heat loving crops look super, and they’re coming your way now or soon.
Zucchini & Cucumbers: a deluge is starting.
Sweet Corn: first corn will be in week 7 or 8…shooting ears now
Carrots: Week 6 or 7…lovely carrots
Eggplant: Week 6 or 7…looks like a great crop
Tomatoes: Week 7 maybe…lots of tomatoes forming…lots and lots
Peppers: Week 8 maybe…a tremendous set of peppers is forming
Melons: forming fast
Heat & the Crew this Week
The crew was stellar, astounding, heroic. Come praise them at our open house, July 14.
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 cabbage
Fruiting Crops – several zucchini and cucumbers, and maybe eggplant
Cooking Greens – chard, probably bunched
Alliums – a sweet onion & maybe scallions
Salad Greens – lettuce
Root Crops – beets
Herbs – bagged basil & bunched dill