It's getting to be a bit of a monotonous refrain, but things have been busy here at Quincy Farm.
According to the National Climatic Data Center, our total rainfall for the months of June, July, August, and September combined is usually 14.2". This year, our rain gauge here at the farm recorded more than that in just 30 days thanks to Irene, Lee, and the interminable rains that followed. To say it has been wet is putting it very gently.
Fortunately, we finally caught a break in the form of a several days of dry, sunny weather this week. A number of opportunities came and went for fall crops in all that rain, when it was too wet to prep beds or seed,but at least we've got a quick window now to put some last minute cover crops down before fall. We also finally got to our sweet potatoes, which have been growing in the sandy upper fields and seem great despite the wet summer. With a little luck we'll finish that harvest tomorrow morning and have a great crop curing in the greenhouse by evening!
We're also counting our blessings on having narrowly missed another frost this past Wednesday--friends of ours just slightly north were a little less lucky, but all we experienced was some tip burn on the sweet potatoes' leaves and unhappy basil--neither of which matter too much. It's a real blessing to still be harvesting tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants this late, and while it doesn't undo the season's setbacks, it sure helps. On the other hand, rather than mellowing out, our harvest days have gotten even more hectic, as we've now got our fall crops stacked on top of the summer ones! It's too dark to see much before 7 or after 6:30, which means we really have to hustle in between... It's an alright problem to have, though.
In the midst of all this frantic cover-cropping and harvesting of warm weather crops, we're also walking a fine line on the cool weather vegetables growing in the flats--a portion of our fall carrots, which we usually don't harvest until after a good frost, are starting to rot in the ground from all the waterlogging. The impact of constantly saturated soil on the plants has been far worse than the initial flooding. Roots need oxygen, and when the soil is saturated with water, whether from actual flooding or just never-ending rain, they can't get it. Plants get sick and things are unhappy. We want the carrots to size up and sweeten, but we also want to provide high quality product to our customers... and we want to not have this additional labor burden just yet! So we're taking a gamble, harvesting the border areas immediately and hoping the beds on slightly higher ground will hold tight. Other things, like cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts, are a mixed bag--some plants are doing nicely, while further down the bed things seem very sad. Even an inch or two of elevation makes a difference when things are that wet for that long.
To keep it interesting, Cara and I finally got married this past month! Yes, after 8 years, 2 houses, 2 apartments, 3 cities/towns, a tank of fish and now a dog, we finally tied the knot here on our farm on September 24th! It seemed like we'd have plenty of extra time our first season farming, so why not throw our own wedding?! We'll try to put up some photos of that once there's a moment to breathe... it's not exactly farm business, but we value the personal connection we have with all you who loyally come to us each market, and this is a big deal for us!