Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Water is the driver of nature" - Leonardo da Vinci

You never really want to write a blog update that is doom and gloom and we have held off as long as we can but the realization that we are not going to get any rain is hitting hard at the farm.

As of the 12th of July the following link by the National Farmers Union was released to the public about the drought conditions we are having and it is being labeled as the 50 year drought.

There really is nothing to be cheery about at the moment.  We really need rain on the farm.  In the last  six weeks we have seen two very short rain showers that initially you are getting excited about but the problem is the high heat/humidity and the hair drying winds which then are sucking out the moisture in the soil.  It really does not matter how much Michael and I water in the evenings it is barely enough to keep the plants holding on.

Also being a mixed diverse farm we have to spread our water requirement between the market garden and the animals.  Our house well which we also use for animal water and washing vegetables has been dry for the last two weeks.  As most know we do have our solar pump on our spring but we can only charge batteries for so long and it is being pushed to it's capacity as we had to spend four weeks running sprinklers on our meat chickens on pasture to keep them cool through the heat of the day.

We have lost a whole crop of summer turnips, kohlrabi, broccoli, cabbage is not heading up and the transplants are just asking for water and are struggling to stay alive, the celery is growing and even with all the water we give it the ground struggles to hold it in.  We continue to seed but our direct seeding is struggling to germinate as it lays in a bed of dust, we keep holding off on the next lot of transplants but in order to keep a supply of vegetables we really need to get them in the ground.

Honey flow is also being effected this year.  Flowers are not growing or plants are just dying which means no nectar for the bees. Normally the zucchini crop is just bumper but because of the heat and lack of rain the plants are very slow in producing new flowers.

Our priority is always to our CSA members and this is why we have not attended a farmers market this year.  Each week we put the vegetable baskets together we have a little cheer that we have made it another week but we really are not sure how long it will keep going for.  We hope everyone enjoys their veggies and try not to let anything go to waste.  This years vegetable production has had a lot more sweat equity, and care in them than ever before and we do really care for your veggies.  

At the moment to get a good recovery and help the crops we need a good three to five days of steady gentle rain. But this rain is needed sooner rather than later.

It's not only small farms like us that are suffering, so too are the cash crops and hay crops.  Pasture is so dry and not re-growing that farmers are already feeding cattle hay, in southern Ontario the soy beans have died and are being ploughed back into the ground.  With the drought this will increase food prices again next year to the consumer and to those who keep animals.  Hay and feed cost with increase because of the bad season this year.