Heat Wave!June 28th, 2013 by Diane Fish
According to weather guru Cliff Mass we are warming up! That is good news for local farmers who have been battling unseasonably wet weather the last couple of weeks! A rare summer atmospheric river brought thunderstorms and lots of moisture to the area. We are used to this phenomena during the winter months here – though we get enough rain so that perhaps you hadn’t noticed it! But, it is rare during the summer months – as Cliff explains!
We need the warmer weather – berries and cherries have suffered this year due to the rain. Talking to a friend who farms cherries in Eastern WA and last week they took pickers into the orchard to see if the crop could be salvaged. They left after a couple of hours. Depressed and tired, he was philosophical. “You win some, you lose some in farming!” Local strawberry farmers have also been battling the weather with high losses due to mold on berries. Both berries and cherries are high value crops, and with high value comes a high risk! Other farmers report damage to locally grow early maturing garlic as well. When garlic is just about ready to harvest it needs a couple weeks of warm, DRY weather to cure and lots of rain during that time can cause mold damage and reduce storage life. Later maturing varieties should be better off with the warm spell forecast! My garlic isn’t quite ready yet…but not because I am some weather predicting savant. I was just so late getting it planted that it is later maturing! Sometimes being too busy to farm is a good thing. Regretfully, this spring the weeds have taken over a couple sections of the garden, so procrastination isn’t always the best way to manage!
Farming certainly isn’t for sissies.
In one regard the wet weather has been good…transplanting tender young plants in hot weather is challenging and cool damp days are the best. But, with all the rain we have had it is lucky that it hasn’t washed away! Farmer Nikki over at Pheasant Field Farm has been busy making raised beds and putting out crops for her fall CSA and market customers. Kale, cabbage, cauliflower!