Farm Happenings at Where the Redfearn Grows Natural Farm
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Extended Spring Weather

Posted on May 29th, 2021 by Dave Redfearn

Can you believe it's June (or almost)?  I can't remember a year when we've had such an extended spring.  Normally, it feels like we go straight from winter to summer weather, but this year we are having a real spring!  Amazingly cool weather and a lot of rain.  Well, we've had enough rain.  Love the cool weather, but we're itching for some sunshine!  We've only had a peek or two at the sun over the last couple weeks.  The difficulty is that farming was the first solar-powered industry in history, and without the sun to power their growth, the plants just sort of sit there.  

A quick junior high biology reminder

Plants convert solar energy into chemical energy through the process of photosynthesis.  Plants make sugar from sunshine with a little help from CO2 and H20.  6 molecules of water (H2O) and 6 molecules of Carbon Dioxide (C02) combine to form 1 molecule of sugar (C6H12O6) and 6 molecules of Oxygen.  Fruits like tomatoes and sugar snap peas are literally sweeter when there is more sunlight available.  If you really want to do some study on the amazing process, there's a great article here all about photosynthesis.  It isn't like all growth has stopped on the farm, some diffuse light does get through but the plants need some full sun to supercharge their growth process.  

Damp = Ripe for Disease

Another reason we're hoping for some sun is disease.  Humid and wet condition breeds bacterial and fungal diseases in plants.  When plant leaves remain damp for extended periods of time, there can be problems.  We've noticed some issues with our high tunnel tomatoes as well as our sugar snap peas.  We're on the lookout for issues on the onions and carrots and other crops as well.  There is a reason why most vegetables in the United States are grown in California's Central Valley.  It never rains there.  Dry conditions (as long as you can irrigate) are best for most veggie crops.  So besides flooding and root rot issues from excessive rain, just lots of consecutive misty days or simply heavy dew without the sun to dry the leaves, can cause issues in the garden  To combat and prevent diseases we try for airflow.  You might notice that all of our high tunnels have fans in them configured in such a way to cause the air to flow in a circular pattern.  We also trellis crops and prune them to allow maximum airflow. 

When conditions are bad for disease non-organic growers will use powerful chemical fungicides to kill these pathogens.  We don't use chemical fungicides, herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers, so this is not a path we take.  When conditions are prone for disease, we will spray a preventative organic substance called Bacillus subtilis which is a natural bacteria that colonizes the leaves and can prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and fungus.  We've also been pruning and removing diseased leaves to prevent the spread of mildew on the tomatoes.  

All this to say, we need the sun!!!  So stop doing those rain dances, will you!  Save them for August when we'll probably need them.

Don't be Jealous

Alright, if you see somebody posting on the Private Facebook Group that you wish you had gotten in your share, try not to be too jealous.  Production is ramping up for cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas, but there aren't enough for everyone yet.  (Blame the clouds!).  If harvie didn't put those in your share to start with and you check to see if you can swap in some tomatoes for instance but you find they are all gone, one pro-tip is to check back later.  It's unlikely at this point that people will swap out cherry tomatoes (since they are so precious right now) but as the weekend progresses or say Monday sometime, Sheri might see that the tomatoes are ripening faster than expected and it looks like there might be more than she originally estimated.  If she does that, she'll add more to the "extras".  The only way to know that is if you see her post something on the private Facebook page or if you happen to log in to Harvie and check and notice them showing up in extras.  We tend to do things like that on Sundays or Mondays so it's a good idea to check in just to see if you can snag something you wished you had gotten.  Please be aware that at this point, we are limited on things like cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas, so please don't take more than one of those so more people can get them. 

Bread: Farm to Market 8- Grain Sliced

Cheese: Hemme Brothers Garlic- Herb Curds

Thankful to be your farmers,

Dave and Sheri Redfearn