I’m so sorry that I’m writing about the drought again, but it’s our reality this year. We are so happy that we’ve been able to get bountiful shares to you, despite the heat.
Drought has multiple effects. Dry weather means plants die, or, like our onions in the parkland, don’t grow. There are secondary impacts, too; these are leading to a significant gap in what has been a steady and plentiful supply of summer squash and cucumbers.
One issue: in dry times, animal pressure is heavier on crops. Animals munch on crops in an effort to find water. We’ve seen the results of this in our lettuce, cucumber, and summer squash crops. Rabbits have destroyed more than half of our lettuce (that’s why we are picking the heads so small, to beat the rabbits) and in our second planting of summer squash, rabbits and groundhogs have taken a bite out of each of about 75% of any summer squash fruit that emerges. When we planted our third succession of cucumbers back near the blueberries, the plants got chewed down to little nubbins. While the plants sort of bounced back, they never really did return with full vigor and health, and they’ve been disappointing producers.
Next, As you can probably imagine, the heat makes it very hard to transplant seedlings in a timely way. We are already moving and adjusting irrigation on the crops that are already planted several times week at least. Getting a field ready to plant requires several steps; on top of that, when the soil is bone dry and there are nothing but dry 90 degree+ days in the forecast, you have to either pre-water, or you need to be able to water the seedlings within an hour or so after transplanting or the plants will die. We mostly managed to stay on top of our planting schedule, but there were a few times we fell behind. The last two plantings of cucurbits were the unfortunate victims of the heat shifting our planting schedule.
Thanks for your patience and understanding! Fortunately, the tomatoes are starting to roll in. I have a feeling that they are going to be plentiful and go on for a while. I’ve never seen such healthy tomato plants, and that is largely due to the drought keeping their leaves dry and thus their disease pressure low. Get ready to freeze some sauce! Also around the corner are melons! I can’t wait.