As I sit here writing, it’s 45 degrees outside. The plants of Lida Farm have had their first significant rain since I don’t know when and I feel like I finally broke a super persistent fever after suffering for a month. Nevermind that we’re heading back to 90 on Wednesday: right here, right now, all is right with the world. Cue the ending from A Christmas Story after Ralphie fell asleep with a Red Ryder BB gun in hand…
This year has certainly been the most moisture-challenged early season I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never dragged around so many hoses in my life. Some operations will bury drip tape in the ground when planting with a transplanter, but I’ve always considered that too much waste and not necessary (most years) with our heavy ground. Instead, we have always moved drip tape around as needed with a header that can supply 4 – 8 drip lines, and, for some dense crops like salad mix and carrots, we hook up these overhead micro-sprayers. This situation is fine in a normal year, but a disaster in a super dry year with 90-degree heat. Even if we were getting rain each week, soil moisture is evaporating all over the place in the heat. A person just can’t keep up. After dragging hose for 12 hours last Sunday, we were still behind.
The first casualty of the summer has been spinach. This was its box to make its appearance, but where are you, spinach? Mostly unborn still sitting in the ground. Too hot and dry to germinate. Those that did eek their way into existance found an unwelcome environment and became so stressed that they turned ugly. This is a green that likes cool, wet weather and often gets stressed in the spring, bolting as the days get longer. As we sit here on the longest day of the year, the crop never had a chance.
But all is not a disaster. No rain = less weeds. The potato field is the cleanest we’ve ever grown and the corn has actually been hoed on time.
In the box:
- Snap peas: Edible pod, so don’t shell, just eat them.
- Red or Green Leaf Lettuce
- Garlic Scapes: Basically the shoot out of a hardneck garlic – pretty mild flavor. I’ll often use where ever I use green onions. See recipe below with garlic scapes and chard, but a person certainly could use with basil to do the same.
- Swiss Chard
- Arugula: Light, oak-leaf shaped green