For almost two weeks it did not rain here on the farm. To begin with it was like heaven, but soon, it was like the other place. It is amazing how much water, plants that are two feet tall use when it is 90 degrees. For the last four days all worked feverishly, its not hard to have a fever when its 90, to keep the potatoes hydrated. They are now in bloom, perhaps the most critical time for potatoes. This is when they set their crop. Even with almost continual watering, one variety, French Fingerling, was still wilting during the day. We did manage to keep it from collapsing, thankfully.
When the rains came yesterday, what a joy. It seems to have put down an inch and one half. Where I had worked the soil, all the water stayed in the field. On hard surfaces it was running like a river. The irrigation pond actually had two thirds of the water replaced by the runoff.
I had to stop planting remaining squash and watermelon due to the dryness. If plastic is laid when it is very dry it is impossible to accomplish full hydration under the plastic once in place. Now I can finish the planting in the next couple of days. Since the soil was so loose where I need to lay it, it will take a day or so before I can get onto the ground.
As cultivation was being done last week the 90 degree temperatures certainly dispatched the weeds once they were loosened. Now that the rain has come the plants will soon completely cover the ground. The weed problem will be minimal for those areas for the remainder of the season.
George planted Artichoke seeds the second week of March, this year. Slowly they came up and slowly they grew until finally we could transplant them into the field. That was weeks ago.For weeks they seemed to just sit there. That is, until this week.
They are now pushing up. For those who do not know artichoke is in the thistle family and the part of the plant we normally eat is the immature flower. Actually the stems can be eaten too once you get past the prickly and woody parts.The amazing thing about these plants is that they have beginning leaves that appear to be about 18 inches long. Of course a plant that has flower buds up to 3 inches across has to be big, but who knew that they would be this big.
As with all of the items planted this year it is a joy to watch them progress to maturity. At this point in the season the first potatoes planted have tops that are almost touching between the rows. Tomato plants are over two feet tall. The sweet potatoes have established themselves, starting to expand. They are like a morning glory plant. I am wondering what the final outcome will be when the vines are in their full glory. The second planting of lettuce is almost ready for picking. Pepper plants are starting to branch. The seedless watermelons are almost to the point of blooming, and the muskmelons have many small melons on them, with more coming. Summer squash and cucumbers are beginning to produce, although they did not like the cool nights this week. All of the cole crops are pushing towards maturity. There even seems to be enough to feed a couple of woodchucks and deer.
After last year with all of the miserable weather we endured, this year is a pleasant reminder that each day and season are different. Keep watching new things are coming each week.