Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rain...thank goodness!

Finally another post!
The tomatoes are ripe.
We've been busy picking, washing, sorting, packing and selling peppers and tomatoes.

Rain has blessed the parched earth...3-1/2 inches worth!
While the girls worked Ambridge Farmers' Market on Thursday afternoon, Phil picked tomatoes. And it's a good thing he did, because the rain began early Friday morning, continuing much of the day. Phil & Becky picked peppers and eggplant in the rain, leaving the field only when it became impossible to walk on the soggy ground. On Saturday morning, in a gentle drizzle, we harvested cabbage, broccoli and basil. We headed to the Beaver Farmers' Market at 9am. Around 10:15am, the rain fell harder, but our loyal customers continued to shop.

Throughout much of July and August, the vegetable gardens have been irrigated. Since the drought of 1988, we use drip irrigation under black plastic mulch on all our crops except corn and beans. This method places the water at the roots of the crop, and uses about half of the water needed for overhead irrigation. One planting of sweet corn has already been lost to the drought. So we are experimenting with drip irrigation on the later plantings.
On Thursday afternoon August 21, Phil laid drip irrigation lines along part of the rows of corn. After only 8 hours of irrigation, the effect was dramatic, as seen below. Foreground is unirrigated and background toward the tractor is irrigated.

The following pictures show how the drip line is supplied with water.
We decided to irrigate the entire field. It has been watered on a weekly basis since then. It seems that every time we irrigate the corn, we also get rain. Harvest is expected to begin on September 24.