Rain, rain go away come again another day

6-16-12 Keith and Sam monitoring the garden after the 7 1/2 inch rain.

It is ironic that last week’s post was about irrigation, and this week’s post is about excess water. How much water?? Well last Thursday, we ended up with about 7 1/2 inches of rain. Most of this came down in about 1 1/2 hours. I don’t know that I have ever seen such power and velocity behind that much rain after it hit the ground. The end results were astonishing to see, and there is no question that God is in charge of our direction. Most certainly, we were in need of rain, but there is no question that we could wait awhile before we needed moisture and share the rain with so many across our great Nation who really need some rain.

In less than a weeks time, we accumulated about 11 1/2 inches most of the storms ranged in the amounts of 1 inch to 2 1/2 inches. In addition, we had BB size and marble size hail. How did the garden crops hold up? Well, the topic of tiling that area for better water management has been discussed. A need for better excessive water management became extremely evident after these torrential storms.

Excessive Rain

What happened to the plants as a result of all that rain? We had soil erosion, gullies washed throughout the garden, and water isn’t draining from the south end very well at all. In fact it is sitting there. This caused one of our newly emerged and once harvested variety of spinach to die. I believe the roots rotted, and the tops fried in the sun. When Steve went to harvest some carrots on Wednesday, he found they had become mush. As I looked at it today, I am concerned about plant regeneration in a number of varieties.

To say this is disappointing is an understatement. But having grown up on a farm, I remember countless times standing by my parents watching it hail and knowing that the hail had wiped out the entire crop and that it was too late in the season to replant. With this in mind, I look at the garden and know there are still options, and we will roll up our sleeves and see what we can do to still provide some delicious end results.

The next few days will determine a lot in the future course of direction. In the meantime, grass doesn’t grow under our feet, replanting is occurring tomorrow, and I am excited to report on this new method next week.

Interesting to see how the spinach obviously had to much rain in fact the leaf looked bruised.

Hail

The BB size hail didn’t last as long nor did it seem to affect very much. But the marble size hail that fell seemed to last far longer than anyone would like and did add additional stress onto already stressed plants. Besides the expected holes in the leaves, it shredded corn leaves, nicked up the rhubarb pretty good, broke off the tomato stems and bruised and broke over the onions.

These plants have really appreciated the last two beautiful days and have been appreciating the recovery time. We are thankful that we did not receive the golf ball size hail that Dundas did that same evening. Page 3 and 4 of this report from Purdue University provides a good insight into the disease monitoring and side effects that we will be looking for as the growing season progresses. http://www.btny.purdue.edu/pubs/vegcrop/VCH2011/VCH537.pdf

Hail pile on Tuesday morning an 1 1/2 after it had fallen.

Green beans after marble size hail.

Lettuce after Tuesday morning’s hail.

Tomato plant stems were broken over after the hail.

Marble size hail – 1 1/2 hours after it fell.

Water Management

So you may be wondering why would you consider field tile for this area. What is tile? It isn’t what we put in for flooring in our kitchen but rather a tube laid under the ground to carry the excess water away from the plants versus the water running over the top of the ground causing soil erosion.

Picture this, soil acts like a sponge. When a sponge is full of water, water will drain out of the bottom of the sponge. This is what happens under ground. If the ground is given an option of how to drain the excess water, much like a sponge it will drain from the bottom.

Field tile is used for water management in farming to remove excess water from soil subsurface. Whereas irrigation is the practice of adding additional water when the soil is naturally too dry, drainage brings soil moisture levels down for optimal crop growth and crop health. Too much subsurface water can prevent root development and inhibit crop growth. Too much water can limit access to the land preventing the ability to plant, cultivate for weed control and harvest. In fact, Steve was sinking down in the mud past his ankles while harvesting the salad crops this week. I regret that I missed this Kodak moment!

On the bright side, Steve installed gutters on Sunday and the 2 1/2 inch rain that night filled the tank completely full. The boys were amazed by this science (weather) and math demonstration (how can 2 1/2 inches turn into this!).

Life is all perspective. Samuel and Keith are pictured with our dog. The boys select something of Steve’s to wear and the photos I take are Steve’s gift for Father’s Day. This year they selected Minnesota Twins shirts and football hats. Thought you would enjoy this…especially their shoes!

BOXES OF PRODUCE

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list.

Look for new links on recipes etc. Also remember food safety when preparing, always wash your before eating. http://bit.ly/MBhskn

Rhubarb – The rhubarb definitely appreciated the rain, but not so much the hail. Simply cut off the damaged areas and enjoy. I tried to select stems that had limited amount of damage. Definite advantage to the plants large leaves.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – Wash, cut off longer stems. We are not sure how these plants will recover. Even my second and third plantings of salad crops took a beating.

Beet – Althought the leaves were damaged by the hail, it was a pleasant surprise to see these beautiful red bulbs.

Turnips – NEW this week, great cut up and eaten raw in a salad. The turnip greens are also edible and could be used in a salad. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/11/turnip-gratin/

Herbs – Purple basil, parsley, mint and orange thyme (NEW)

Fresh cut arrangement – Includes Hosta leaves and Tiger Lillies. I had to dig deep in the big Hosta plants to find some with no hail damage:)

Food and Farm Fact Book – From time to time, I would like to include something fun and/or informative for you. This is a great resource of information put together by the American Farm Bureau Federation gathering data from many of our U.S. governmental agencies. I hope you find a few great trivia facts to stump your family and friends. http://www.fb.org/index.php?action=ordermaterials

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