Update and Storm Recap

To save time I will revisit the update I sent to our googlegroup CSA:

Unfortunately the update this week will mimic much of the news we have
all heard all too often lately in Southern Wisconsin -too much rain!
The plan was that by this time in June we would be harvesting dozens
and dozens of full heads of lettuce, and be within weeks of carrots,
beets, and nasturium among others.  Unfortunately the hail from last
Saturday’s storm has severely damaged our Romaine and Lettuce crop –
essentially what we were unable to get out Saturday Morning is a total
loss. Also, all of our seeded plantings of carrots/beets/etc has
washed out twice.  We will replant (again!) as soon as we can enter the fields again
-“homegrown” carrots are simply too good to let a little (or a LOT!)
of rain stop us!  I knew there was a reason we bought 5000 carrot

The earlier crops that are up, are severely compromised with weeds as
we’ve been unable to cultivate our fields for the better part of 2
weeks –the soil is like quick sand.   Hoeing the fields by hand is
critical to organic systems as a physical means of reducing weed
competition with the crops, vs spraying a herbicide over “Round-Up –
Ready GMO Crops”.  The situation is salvageable, but we have much more
work in front of us this June than expected.

But enough with the depressing news!  On the Bright Side -the potatoes
are unbelievably robust -rebounding from the killing frost with such
vigor it is almost impossible to tell it ever happened!  I had high
hopes for our large potatoes plantings and thus far they are coming
true!  VERY excited to harvest in about 5-6 weeks!  Also, the Hoop
House Tomatoes and Peppers are right on track.  The Hoop House
plantings have allowed the tomatoes to form incredibly thick stemmed
“shrubs” despite the relatively cold late spring which is setting back
most tomatoes planted outside.  In fact the vines are so vigorous we
will be trellising them this weekend.  Hope to have photos up this

On the home front we are incredibly unaffected by the 15+ inches of rain in the past 2 weeks.  Our sump hasn’t even run once…  That said getting around is very difficult -the two major rivers in our county -the Rock and Crawfish rivers are 30% above record levels and the Craw is yet to crest.  80% of the bridge crossings are out -to go west to Madison (30 miles away) will take us an extra 50 miles in detours to find a workable bridge!  Luckily the public has been mostly smart about it and deaths and injuries are amazingly low considering that 12+ tornadoes have hit the state in the past 12 days.

This is either the best (due to all the learnings and getting my hubris smacked down) or worst (because semingly everything that can go wrong, is) year to start a market gardening operation.  I am remarkably Zen about it so far.  Mostly because all my tools are paid for and no bills are riding on a successful harvest.  Still we have managed to sell a bit over $100 thus far -mostly Romain- which is not bad considering the Global Warming induced climate insanity.

They are calling this past storm a “500 year storm”.  But seeing as we’ve had 4 50yr events in the past 5 years I have no confidence we will get a 499 year respite from flooding on this scale again…

Gearing up for my presentations of our Earth Victory Gardens and Gasifiers at the MREA (Sustain Jefferson) next weekend and my hosting of a Permaculture Group and the Sierra Club of Madison for a tour of my “sustainable yard” in 2 weeks.  Waaaaay too much to do!


5 Responses

  1. Wow. Thanks for the update, Rob. I’ve been watching these storms march (or park…) across the midsection of the country and just can’t imagine what it’s like being under them. Hang in there – hopefully your diverse suite of crops will serve you well!

  2. We’re in central Wisconsin, north of the Dells, and despite the flooding things are growing well up here. It’s nothing like the pictures of Iowa (even Lake Delton looks strangely contained next to that).

    Nice trail-blazing work on your blog. Sometimes people need to know something can be done before they’ll take the time to do it.

  3. Your asparagus was (and is, as we continue eating it) SO SO good. Can’t wait for peppers and tomatoes – a friend and I are planning to get as much as we can, and spend a day making salsa/pickling/dehydrating/freezing.🙂

    We haven’t ventured east – we can get there, but as you said, no way to get home! Incredible. Hopefully we will now have a weather break for a bit!

  4. Glad to hear you guys are coming through the nasty weather relatively well. At least the potatoes are liking it!

  5. Thanks Everyone!

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