For those of us who live in NW Washington, we know that the summers can be dry. It is not unusual to have 3 or 4 weeks without rain. In fact, if you mentioned how dry it has been to family and friends in say, Virginia, they would think you are joking. Their belief is that it always rains in WA. Of course, this sentiment totally disrespects our fellow Eastern WA neighbors!
The fact of the matter is summers in the PNW are downright beautiful, fairly dry and comfortable. But summer, we are pushing 8 weeks (about 2 months) without any measurable precipitation. I guess I am not really “built” to live in California or Arizona, I prefer it a little wetter. 😊
The challenge for us is the management of the dry weather and soil moisture. We were able to get a good amount of water on most of the crops before that super-hot stretch and our late fall crops have really enjoyed the heat. But the more sensitive salad crops were not as happy.
We have had to change our planting plans again. This is mostly a normal occurrence for us, but the length of this dry spell has really shifted our fall schedule.
This year we did make some decisions that depended on hot weather, especially when it came to growing tomatoes outside rather than the greenhouse. We have so many happy tomato plants. They love the heat! We are using drip tape to irrigate with to keep their roots watered. Tomatoes do not like to have their leaves get wet and overhead irrigating can lead to “blight”. And blight is no Bueno for tomatoes or potatoes.
I wish it were possible to outfit the entire farm with drip tape, but that is hard to accomplish and manage given the variety of crops we grow, the length to harvest on those different crops and the weeding we need to do. Drip tape is hard to weed around, and don’t forget weeds are getting watered, too.
Overall, the weather has been a challenge, but not insurmountable. We have had to cut back on our fall plantings, because there is not enough field moisture to germinate seeds and keep them going without a lot of irrigating. The summer loving crops that are established are happy and healthy, a little thirsty, but with their big canopies shading the ground they can conserve moisture.
And if we do get a little rain in the next few weeks, oh boy, those plants are going to be reminiscent of Jack and the Bean Stalk!
Thanks for supporting our farm, other farms, and the healthy farming everywhere!
-Tristan, Joelle, and the Box of Good crew