Dare I say, drought? Where our farm sits, we are in the area that is designated as the first stages of drought. We skipped spring altogether here, with temps in the 80s and 90s in April and May when the average temps should be in the 60s. We started our crops at the normal time, fearing a late freeze (which we did get, by the way!)
I’ve stopped counting the days we’ve gone without rain. Can you actually count the ‘spit’ we got last night? I could see on the road that there was moisture, but it wasn’t enough to even discolor the soil in the gardens. Add to the lack of moisture, the neverending, relentless wind out here in the flats. The soil has turned to cracked concrete and the plants are doing their best to just suvive the heat. Our hopes are that they are busy sending out more expansive root systems so that they will survive this. Our worry is that it won’t be enough–many of the crops we grow here in the summer barely have enough of a season to produce fruit. With this setback, will they have enough time to set and ripen any fruit at all? Stressed plants tend to drop blooms and work on simple survival. We have no choice but to ride it out and learn from the experience.
Even the chickens are protesting this heat–the hens have gone on strike! We have consistently collected 8-10 eggs per day and now are down to 4 or 5.
What are we learning? Personally, Jason and I are learning that we need to keep up our efforts to add more trees, bushes and perennials to act as windblocks. Sometimes weeds are the lesser of two evils–the small weeds are acting like mulch to hold some of the moisture in and keep the sun from baking the ground. Yes, they do compete for moisture, but the beds where we’ve left weeds are still faring better than the others. We need to work harder to produce more compost to loosen this hard, clay soil. We are working on ways to make income from many different jobs and projects. Mostly we are learning to go with the flow. Mother Nature does her work slowly, patiently, consistently. She knows what she needs–even if it isn’t always what we think we need!
(And maybe we should start saving for a really large greenhouse! Look how much better the plants are doing in there!)