Rain, Rain, Go Away

Wow, well, have I mentioned the rain recently? We do our best to fend off its effects, but, as in a chess game, the weather makes moves to improve its overall position and eventually gain the upper hand. We made our own strategies for fieldwork, timing the tillage and planting to take advantage of the brief dry periods, not trusting the forecast to stay clear for any longer than necessary, and kept picking every last vegetable out of the field until long after the wet and damp had taken its toll on the plants. And, despite the early disappearance of summer vegetables and the delayed onset of fall greens, we still manage to squeak by, holding out for the relief that fall storage crops will be bringing next month.

It's almost comical--I mean, it IS comical, in the way that people smile in wonder at astonishing events--the way we think we're doing everything right and staying ahead of the weather, but then the weather takes it to the next level. For example, we have deluges every year, and wet periods are nothing new. We know what to expect and how to handle this. And, though the soil may stay frustratingly wet for too long, the days themselves return to the normal weather pattern. This is the first year I've seen where the big rains are followed by long periods (weeks!) of foggy, cool, cloudy, drizzly days where not only the ground but the air itself is saturated. This has had novel affects on plant growth--not the least of which is the salad mix, which actually got unusually tall and leggy from so little sunlight. The lack of sunlight may also have had something to do with how the peppers have given up ripening (just a hunch!), and so you have green peppers this week instead of red.

While the weather has certainly affected the plants on the farm, and thus the mix of vegetables you see each week, this is the first time out of all the flooded, rainy weeks this year that it has had a direct, physical, effect on what you're seeing in the bag. I had planned for potatoes this week, relying evidently too much on the weather forecast saying rain Monday and clear the rest of the week. Instead, it was calm Monday and rainy the rest of the week, leaving the potatoes locked underground in the mud for the time being. So, instead, you have green tomatoes (admittedly not an equal trade but they ARE great breaded and fried). On the other hand, it would usually be too early in the season for carrots this size–in general they are still too small to pick–but since the ground was so wet it was possible to select the individual, large outlier carrots and pull them out by their tops, yielding enough bunches of full-size carrots for everybody in a week where it would otherwise be too early to see such carrots. (By the way, do take the tops off the carrots if you're not eating the carrots right away; the tops suck moisture out of the carrot roots.)

The next week is looking beautiful though, with no rain in sight--apparently the first time in quite a while where we've had 5 days in a row without rain. I'd believe it!