Peregrine Farm News Vol. 8 #8, 5/11/11

What’s been going on?

Betsy walks outside yesterday morning and says the cicadas are so loud it sounds like Police sirens. I head out to work a bit later and they are completely silent, crazy. In general the din builds through the day until it is an eerie alien roar. Interestingly we don’t really see a lot around except for all the holes in the ground where they have emerged and then of course the cats have to bring them in the house. They say they will be around a month and then it will be 13 years until the next explosion.

Busy week, peppers begin to go in the ground today. The fabric and irrigation lines went down on Monday over the prepared beds. These raised beds will hold all the fussy hot and exotic peppers because we feel they need the extra warmth and better drained soil of a raised bed. The staff will start planting those beds this morning while I am finishing getting the rest of the field ready. The majority of the sweet peppers we will plant, no-till, into the rolled cover crop that grew their last winter. We had a monster cover crop of rye and hairy vetch to roll down and now I need to cut the slits into the mulch so they can tuck the plants in. Hopefully by the end of the tomorrow all the plants will be in the ground. Perfect conditions for transplanting, the soil has warmed nicely (which the peppers need), it will be overcast and not too hot and those plants will just take off.

Another big project was checked off the list this week which give us much relief. Despite what has been nearly perfect weekly rains this spring we are still over four inches behind on rainfall for the year and finished last year eight inches down. So while the annual crops are happy the ground water is not. Our upper pond never filled over the winter and so we are in the process of filling it from the lower pond. The crux has been we have to fill the lower pond from the creek.

Years ago we installed a gravity feed line that runs 900 feet down the field and into the pond. It worked OK but never enough flow and it would stop running from time to time. So a month ago we rented a trencher and cut a new line in, using a transit to make sure the fall was right and then buried new two inch PVC pipe. Finally last Friday we finished up the connections and started it running. It now runs with great flow and we feel comfortable that we can easily refill the lower pond. Water is the second most limiting resource on the farm after labor and so we are feeling more secure than we have in some years. Let’s hope it keeps raining each week.

Picture of the Week

The trench runs 700′ to the far tree line and then 200 more feet to the creek

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