Everything is rather flip flopped this year. Eighty degree days in March got us primed for thinking Spring and Summer. What happened to “April showers bring May flowers”? The May flowers have bloomed already in early April. The March winds have been blowing all April. And the showers? As to date, we have less than 1/3 of an inch of rainfall for the month of April.
I would much prefer a dry Spring to a wet one. We have been unimpeded by rainfall when it comes to the preparing of the vegetable fields this year. I can’t ever remember when we needed to set up irrigation this early. We have more plantings to irrigate too since we’ve had such great weather. It requires quite a few hours to set up the irrigation system and of course the added expense of fuel and time to monitor everything. It is far easier to have a timely shower from the heavens to keep all the plants and soil biology happy.
The constant winds we have experienced this month have not been helpful when it comes to spraying and maintaining the orchards. It doesn’t matter whether you’re growing with organic or conventional means- the orchards require a number of spray applications primarily at bloom time. Miss the timing [because it’s too windy to spray] and the likely hood of bug be-riddled fruit is a distinct possibility. Every disease and insect species has its own life cycle and in some cases multiple life cycles. We monitor with special traps baited with a pharomone distinct to each key insect pest. Our “trap count” gives us needed input to target spray applications at just the right time to be most effective as well as minimize our impact on the environment. The better job we can do now means the less needed later. Timing can be everything- so knock it off wind!
Much to our relief, the mob of geese that were frequenting our farm for the last several months has eased up. Only a few pairs remain to raise up the new generation. Now that there are fewer birds, Izzy the dog likes to halfheartedly chase them. She must have been intimidated by the shear numbers earlier in the Spring and really was innefective in detering them from hanging out. I’d like it if we could add “goose chaser” to her job description but sadly it just isn’t so.
For the most part the soil enriching cover crops have recuperated from all the geese feeding on them. I was worried that the geese were destroying the plants faster than the plants could grow. We have protected the lettuce/spinach field [what goose wouldn’t enjoying eating that!] by adding an additional line to the deer fencing. It’s a regular nylon string placed at about 18 inches from the ground level. We figured that this might be enough of an obstacle to send them in another direction. So far it seems to be working! Not much in farming is inexpensive and effective too so hip hip hooray on this one!
The greenhouses are filling up with young plants awaiting their time to head to the fields. The apple orchard is gorgeous and in full bloom now. Lots and lots happening!