Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rain, Rain Go Away (updated)

So, I don't know if you've noticed, but it has been raining a little bit. In fact is raining right now. So far this month, on the farmstead, we have had 5.6" 6.6" of rain, . A good portion of that - 4" 5" to be precise - has fallen over the last five days, during this "hydro vortex."

"This is the wettest week we have seen since September of 2010 when we received over 8 inches in one week. June rainfall already totals 11.04 inches. This establishes a new June rainfall record, breaking the old record set in 2010 of 9.64 inches. There is still 12 days left in June. With rain in the forecast, we are closing in on setting the record for most precipitation received in any month, which was set in September of 2010 at 12.66 inches." 
-Paul Huttner, Hydro Vortex: Crop Damage Across Southern MNUpdraft blog

Rainfall, over the last week, has been 4-8 inches above normal. It's clear that we haven't had as much rain on our farm as in some areas, but it's still a lot. A lot. It was muddy Monday, for our first day of CSA harvest, but it was soupy yesterday for Wednesday's harvest.
A picture of the field Wednesday morning.
 Generally, in these wet soil conditions we try to stay out of the field, but when work has to happen we get it done. Working in wet soil conditions causes soil compaction, which can impact the soil structure beyond just one season.

So I went out to harvest and literally sunk about four inches in some spots. So after a little bit of this...

Kale harvest
 ...I opted for a lot more of this...

Harvesting using boards to reduce soil damage.
It took a bit longer, but it was worth it. Not only did I get a little bit of an extra workout, but I caused less soil damage and was able to pay more attention to my harvest, rather than where I was stepping and how much I was sinking.

Even before the last couple of days we could see that the continued wet conditions of this spring have had a impact on our crops. Some things have grown more slowly or been stunted, and of course the weed pressure is a factor.

"The soggy system that’s plagued Minnesota all week finally shows signs of slogging east on Friday, and taking the bulk of the heavy rain along with it...But the trends suggest our June Monsoon may finally be easing off and that we may finally be moving beyond consecutive days of heavy flooding rain."

There is hope of dry and sunny in sight, and that is what we are waiting for. We do need a break. We have ordered a new hoe to add to our weed killing arsenal, so we can go at them with all we've got, once it dries up. We need to minimize the hand weeding as much as possible, to make the most of our time, which becomes more and more valuable as the season moves on. In the very early season our time is divided primarily between planting and weeding, as we move forward more time is needed for deliveries, harvesting and other task work, such as the weekly pruning and trellising of tomatoes.

As I've written this we have probably get another 0.25" of rain. Strike that, as I wrote this we received another 1" of rain. After two years of droughty weather dare I say it? For our fellow farmers, our crops, the health of the soil and waterways, for the sake of soil erosion and for Vera, whose piglets will be welcomed into the world in the next 24-36 hours...rain, rain go away.

.     .     .     .     . Data from the Climatological Working Group

2014 BROWN Monthly Precipitation, Totals
 .87   1.09    1.60     4.65    4.29     6.6 (as of June 19, 2014- and its raining still!)
2014 January – June 19, 2014 = 19.1

2013 BROWN Monthly Precipitation, Totals
1.50  1.26    1.97    4.66   3.19    6.23  1.06   1.38   1.56   3.34     .43     .83
January – June = 18.81”

2012 BROWN Monthly Precipitation, Totals
 .96   2.54   2.10    2.10   9.81     .75   1.36    1.63   .70     .90      .85    1.62
January – June = 18.26

No comments:

Post a Comment