Posts Tagged ‘water’

 

 

There are few words to describe the drought we have been experiencing. It’s been like a twilight zone. This last rain system, we fortunately received over 8 inches of rain at Heart Arrow Ranch, but we need much more to have irrigated pasture this summer. It’s hard preparing ourselves to possibly sell off half of our animals, as we’ve been working hard to grow our business. So, we continue to pray for more rain! Despite all the uphill challenges, we are taking one day at a time with our work. Today we herded the sheep into the vineyard, and it was a joy to see them enjoy running around, let out of the lambing barn and heading for some green grass.sheep herding 1 sheep herding 2 sheep herding 3 sheep herding 4 sheep herding 5 sheep herding 6 sheep herding 7

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Surprise! The first blog post in a while happens to be on a rainy day.

It’s our first rain of autumn, and it is pouring down this Tuesday evening! Last we checked Accuweather, a bit over 2.5 inches was in the forecast. While we knew that rain was coming this week, we didn’t expect quite this much.

Since we’re not grape farmers, all this rain is not so bad. Sunday evening, we finished seeding a perennial pasture that needed some rehabilitation. We had wanted to do it last year, but the rain always beat us, and the ground was never the right moisture/dryness to work. This year, we had two tractors going until around 8pm on Sunday, but we got it done. Hopefully we’ll see some little green sprouts popping out in the field soon!

The fall vegetable crops are doing reasonably well, too. We just need to keep an eye out for pests like cabbage worms and slugs this time of year.

All this rain will also get the soil moist enough for us to start prepping ground and seeding grain. In our climate, it’s possible to dry-farm grain. Without irrigating, we can over-winter grain, like the barley we grew last year and the wheat before that. So, we’re excited for this watering. Cross your fingers that the weather will cooperate this fall…

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This month has been the first full month of full-on winter vegetable planting. It’s kind of neat to see where we were with the winter CSA last July. In some ways, we are ahead this year, and in others we are behind. We know what has to get done when, but as last year, the dearth of sign-ups, and more important – money – has been an obstacle.

Despite the heat and lack of financing, we are busy bees on the farm. We had a handful of folks keep the CSA afloat so far such that we’ve been able to purchase seeds & some irrigation parts, and to pay our bills.

Some of the garlic we harvested earlier this summer for the winter CSA. It tastes as great as it looks!

Some of the garlic we harvested earlier this summer for the winter CSA. It tastes as great as it looks!

The winter squash & pumpkin field right after laying the irrigation drip lines and right before planting.

The winter squash & pumpkin field right after laying the irrigation drip lines and right before planting.

We saved a lot of onion seeds. The flower heads of old spring onions are finally drying out, and we are able to gather that seed.

We saved a lot of onion seeds. The flower heads of old spring onions are finally drying out, and we are able to gather that seed.

We cleared out spring vegetables by hand. Then with shovel, wheelbarrow, and hoe, we top-dress the beds with compost, incorporate it into the top soil, and flatten the surface of the bed. Ready for planting!

We cleared out spring vegetables by hand. Then with shovel, wheelbarrow, and hoe, we top-dress the beds with compost, incorporate it into the top soil, and flatten the surface of the bed. Ready for planting!

To keep the newly planted carrot seeds moist (and to help germination), we cover the watered beds with soaking burlap. We have to make sure the beds remain moist.

To keep the newly planted carrot seeds moist (and to help germination), we cover the watered beds with soaking burlap. We have to make sure the beds remain moist.

Back at the squash field, this Waltham Butternut plant is growing happily.

Back at the squash field, this Waltham Butternut plant is growing happily.

So this is what winter vegetable growing looks like. This is what local food and eating with the seasons look like. For us to keep growing winter vegetables, we really need folks to sign up! If you have questions or concerns about joining the winter CSA, we are more than happy to talk (or email) with you.

USE THIS FORM TO SIGN UP

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Water?

Just yesterday, Governor Schwarzenegger announced that California is experiencing a drought – the first in 17 years. Unless you are living under a rock (or under the sea), you may have noticed the dearth of rain this past winter, the slower creeks, as well as the early summer heat. This is a big concern for us agricultural producers as we get further into the growing season. We realize that like many other natural resources, water is renewable only up to a point. I mentioned earlier that our field at Heart Arrow Ranch is being irrigated by a pond. This is one of a few man-made rainwater catchment reservoirs there. Summers in Redwood Valley can sometimes reach into the 100s, which can stress plants if they do not get enough moisture. So, bear in mind, that the food you eat – it’s availability and quality – is greatly affected by our access to water. Central Valley farmers are having to abandon cultivating hundreds of acres, as well as abandon fields that have already been planted, because of the lack of water to farm. Not only the high price of oil, but the scarcity of water will most likely cause a continued increase in food prices. By buying produce from Mendo Organics, Mendocino County members should be able to afford high-quality local and biodynamic/organic food. Especially by buying local food, folks will be saving on the transportation costs (time & gas!) other food from outside Mendo would incur. It’s economical and environmentally sound.

Don’t forget to conserve!

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