2005. As of this writing, we are in the midst
of a rotten drought. In May we received a whopping 1”
of rain; June brought .4”. So far, July has seen .6”.
Last year by this time we had received 18”. I have seed
in the ground that has not yet germinated and I am afraid
it has been cooked, since along with the drought we had temperatures
in the high 90s for the better part of June. The irrigation
on our half-acre growing site is up and running after its
fitful start. On the advice of the pump manufacturer’s
technical support team, we replaced all of the PVC on the
supply side of the pump; they thought there might be a pinhole
somewhere in the line causing a loss of suction, and it seems
to have done the trick. Our 2-acre Frankfort site is still
I am in a constant state of worry about what we will have
to put in the CSA share boxes, since I am learning about planting-to-harvest
ratios while under the gun. Our lettuce transplants performed
well and have been our saving grace. We have harvested them
for the last four weeks and will cut the last of them this
week. Our peas were delicious but we did not have enough.
I wanted shares to receive both shell and snap peas for at
least two weeks, but we ended up with only enough for shares
to receive one or the other…and for only one week. Our
early broccoli and cabbage was modest at best. We planted
180 to 200 broccoli transplants at a time; I thought that
we would be adequate to supply our 45 CSA members with a week’s
share. Well it wasn't. From those 180 plants, I only got 20
good sized heads ready at one time. We limped though by harvesting
smaller heads and giving shares 2 or 3 smaller units, but
that wasn't fun. The same scenario played out with the cabbage.
Our spinach burnt up and bolted and was never harvested; our
radishes were tiny and like fireballs. On the brighter side
of things, we had some nice mustard greens for a couple of
weeks and Pac Choi last week.
I am gaining a new appreciation for machines. The lawn mower
has become one of my best friends. Our 2-acre field is set
up with 24-inch paths, and the mower makes short order of
weeds in the paths and helps keep things neat. I love it.
Another machine also chugged its way into my heart this month.
As we worked to plant our 2-acre field, we were falling further
and further behind. The further behind we got the more time
each bed took to prepare, since the weeds were getting a stronger
and stronger hold. Finally, by the 18th of June, I was at
my wits end. I had taken to mowing unprepared beds to keep
things from flowering, but they were still building root systems.
When I wanted to plant, I would go in with the wheel hoe to
take out the weeds, but by the 18th the wheel hoe could no
longer accomplish the task and neither could our 5 horsepower
rototiller (which is now in the shop for a checkup). What
to do? Where to turn? I started calling equipment rental shops
and explaining my situation.
Ultimately, I rented a 13 horsepower hydraulic rototiller.
To many of you with machine experience that probably doesn’t
seem like a big deal, but to me that was one big machine!
The equipment rental guy gave us the rundown on operation
and loaded it onto Jeanne’s truck bed. He gave us ramps
to get it off the truck in the field, and away we went. Walking
that thing backwards down those tiny ramps was a white-knuckle
experience but worth every drop of sweat. It did a great job,
cleaning up whole sections of the field or working in a single
bed hemmed in by previously planted beds. What a difference
adequate tools and machines can make in getting a job done.
Anybody have a walk-behind tractor they would like to part