4/26/06 Vol. 3 #7

Well we anticipated waking up to a grey and damp morning.  Basically a rain day.  We had arranged for the staff to come on Thursday instead of today, to take advantage of the weather and to try and snatch a kind of day off.  The sun was out!  Now as I continue on the clouds have rolled in and I feel more secure in our partial sloth this morning.  This is not to say we don’t have plenty to do today with market this afternoon but at least it will start slower.  After the long Farm Tour weekend and the run up to tomato planting it is good to pause for just a moment, after all it may be the last rain day for a long time!

We did have great rain on Saturday, not great for market and it limited the crowd some for the Farm Tour on Saturday afternoon but it was the best rain we have had since maybe January or even December, 1.3″ and a little more last night.  With the rain forecast for today we will be able to finally get both ponds to full pool.  I have been sweating over this for a month or more as we have been trying to increase water flow out of the creek and into the lower pond.  I knew all we needed was a good rain to give us a break from irrigating the crops so we could move that water to the upper pond.  One more good day of pumping and we will have it done!  The race has been against the season, once the leaves are fully out on the trees the creek flow diminishes as it gets hotter because those trees really start sucking moisture out of the ground.  The hotter it gets the more we have to irrigate and then there is no way to get caught up unless it starts to rain.  The good news is that the USDA and National Weather Service has changed us from an “extreme” drought to just “severe” and the forecast for us, through July, is to be on the edge of “some improvement early in the period”.  I think I will still make sure the ponds are full!

The Farm Tour was entertaining as usual.  We always have about the same numbers of folks each year now.  Because we have been on the tour all eleven years and are not as sexy as those farms with lots of animals our visitors are more predictable.  We either have our great Farmers’ Market customers coming out to see what we are up to this year or we get people interested in going into farming and want to ask specific questions about how we do it.  Both groups are fun and we enjoyed seeing all of you!  The main planting of tomatoes were tucked into the ground yesterday!  A careful choreography as there were five of us planting twenty three varieties in ten different rows.  650 plants in all.  The staff want to know my rationale for what kind goes where.  With the Big Tops there is a lot of extra water on the outside rows coming off the plastic roofs, the same result for the down hill ends of the rows.  I carefully put those varieties that need extra water on the outside rows, things like the Green Zebras or Viva Italias who suffer first from too little water.  The interior rows get the kinds that always explode with too much water, like the very sensitive Striped Germans and Sun Golds.  The new test varieties go on the ends of the rows so we can keep an eye on them as we walk by everyday.  It was supposed to only be 18 varieties in this planting but Betsy snuck in five more that we brought back from Italy last fall so I had to find room for them somewhere.  In addition to those we have three new varieties that we are hopeful for, Mule Team (a red), Lillian’s Yellow, and Dorothy’s Green.  I can taste the sandwiches now!

Picture of the Week
Striped German and Green Zebra  tomatoes tucked into their warm raised beds, protected from the wind by the crimson clover cover crop and the rain by the roof of the Big Tops

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