Week of June 27th – CSA Newsletter

office viewGreeting folks!

Well, here we are, another week without any significant rainfall. It’s usually late July or early August before I start mentioning how dry it is out there but it’s been pretty brutal out there. And that little bit of rain that we got today, yeah, that didn’t really do too much. Dryden usually averages around 4.4 inches of precipitation for the month of June. I believe we’re under 1.5 inches and it’s the 27th. Yikes! March, April and May have all been below average as well. So, what does that mean for us. Well, we keep plugging away at the jobs that need to be done, prioritize things and say thanks that it’s not super hot. You see, currently we dry farm in our main vegetable field. Which means we don’t have a water source to irrigate from. Dry farming is a common practice in the Northeast because there is usually enough Spring time and early Summer precipitation to rely on. Also, sometimes, it’s just not possible to get water to certain fields for various reasons.

The crops that we planted in early Spring are just kinda sitting there and hanging out, growing extremely slowly, waiting for some relief. Hopefully it will come soon. One thing that had to happen last week was to get some plants in the ground that couldn’t wait any longer. I kept pushing back planting¬†thinking we were going to get some rain. On Wednesday and Thursday we put over 2200 plants in the ground and they weren’t happy at all. We immediately started the bucket brigade.

Unhappy Pepper plant
Unhappy Pepper plant

The bucket brigade for us is a very inefficient use of our time. Filling up 5 gallon buckets of water at the barn and trucking them over to the field, spilling on the way, and then filling watering cans is not the most fun way to spend an afternoon. Help was on the way. Our good friends over at Main St. Farms in Cortland had an extra 275 gallon tote that we could borrow to help with our watering needs. It wasn’t the fastest of jobs but it sure beat running back and forth with 5 gallon buckets and water cans. We ended up bringing over almost 1400 gallons of water with that tote Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Watering at sunset
Watering at sunset

When I checked this morning, it looked like we lost about 1% of the 2200 that were planted. I’m okay with that because our Sustainable Farming and Food Systems students worked really hard to get these plants in the ground and to get them water.

It’s not all doom and gloom over at the farm. It’s just really really dry in the field and our crops aren’t in the happiest of places. The hoophouses are thriving. We can control the water that the plants get and the peppers and tomatoes enjoy the heat. We’re very happy right now with the way our heirloom tomatoes are looking right now.

I spy some maters
I spy some maters

We were in such a rush last year to get them in to the ground that a bunch did not perform as well as we would have liked. That’s not the case this year.

For our field trip last week we went to visit my good friends over at Northland Sheep Dairy in Marathon. It was a great opportunity for us to show the students a farm very different from ours. Northland is one of the oldest sheep dairy’s in the country and they farm using horses and mules. NorthlandThe students were super impressed with the operation and I think that it inspired a few to think about farming with horses.

Okay, so onto this week’s share. Since it hasn’t rained and things are growing slow, this week is going to be on the lighter side. There will be lettuce, garlic scapes, the last of the 2015 potatoes, and kale. Radishes will be new this week and this is most likely the last week for strawberries. They really could have used some water and will definitely be on the smaller side this week. I’m also going to try to see if another green is ready, maybe swiss chard.

On the horizon is broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers and fresh garlic.

Have a great week folks!!

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