Well, I slept like a baby last night–in other words, I woke up half a dozen times screaming. After weeks of rain missing the farm, we finally got a solid two inches. Unfortunately, it came in a very short period of time and was accompanied by high winds and hail. It’s been about 20 years since we’ve had a significant hail event so I suppose we should be thankful about that, but it’s still sad to see plants that have been cared for so meticulously looking beat up and bedraggled.
It remains to be seen how much of this damage will be permanent and which plants can grow out of it. Thankfully, no crop will be a total loss. I expect that early potatoes, beets, and those precious carrots will be delayed by a couple of weeks, and yield will be reduced. I think the snap peas that were not mature enough to be harvested today will turn brown or scab over as they age, but we have another planting that should come on soon. Whether the onions size up at all after that much damage is a big concern. We were just about to begin harvesting zucchini and those plants are also going to take awhile to look right.
Small seedlings of storage crops, such as fall beets and carrots, really took a beating and some percentage are actually broken off, but we’ll know better in a week if they can pick themselves back up and keep growing. We have an additional acre of fall carrots that were just seeded and soil compaction and crusting is a concern for emergence but I’m hopeful that they’ll be okay.
The other real concern is disease. Any time plants like the potatoes above are beaten up this way it gives disease an opportunity to bypass the plant’s natural defenses and cause serious harm. Many of these diseases are soil-borne, so driving that much dirt into the plant’s pores is a recipe for bad things to come.
On a brighter note, some things are looking great, like the fall cabbage crop. Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower in earlier plantings also appear to be okay, although the green cabbage definitely has some holes in it. Preserving share tomatoes and 2/3 of the winter squash are in a field that was protected by the wind so they fared much better than others. Another great thing is that the crew has really been on top of the weeding and field work, so we can afford to miss a few days in the field to give plants a chance to stand up and dry out.
Also, I am incredibly relieved to have a pause in what has been a grueling nighttime irrigation schedule. We really did need a good soaking rain, but could have done with a little less drama.
Thanks for your understanding and support, and we’re looking forward to more beautiful, bountiful boxes heading to your kitchen soon.
For the farm crew,