I was out this morning spreading cover crop seed in between the rows of tomatoes planted in plastic mulch. It was a good morning because it was relatively cool, the task at hand was straightforward and easy to accomplish in the time I had, and most importantly I could hear thunder nearby and thought we were in for a good soaking. A couple hours later as I left the farm to deliver our CSA boxes it was once again hot, sunny and dry – we received only light showers this morning. Oh well, it’s not the first time or the last time that we haven’t gotten the weather that we hoped to get.
It is impossible not to get our hopes up when the weatherman predicts helpful weather, but we have learned that farming means preparing for multiple possibilities and being ready to change course quickly. That’s why we love tweaking how we do something so that we are better prepared for whatever might happen. For example, that plastic mulch suppresses weeds, but it also keeps the soil nice and moist so we don’t have to water crops on mulch nearly as much as we do crops on bare ground. Plus we can water in the heat of the day because the drip lines are buried a couple inches underground, beneath the plastic, and there is no loss to evaporation! This really helps when we are in a particularly dry stretch early in the season – like the last two weeks – because we have so many lines that need to be run overnight.
So, the next chance of rain is Friday, we’ll wait and see!