Rain gauge

We’ve had a lot of rain in June! We don’t know how much, because our rain gauge (pronounced ‘gage’) keeps getting broken. I love to measure things, and it’s frustrating not to know. Right now we have thermometers, and a pH meter, but we have no way to measure rainfall. We have had several rain gauges, but they’ve all broken as a result of over-vigorous mowing! (That’s ironic because we often suffer from under-vigorous mowing, LOL.) Eli, the farm team’s irrigation specialist, asked for rain gauges. I was so happy! We immediately ordered four. Eli wants to measure the rain, and dial in on how much irrigation water is falling on crops. That way she can more accurately get the correct amount of water where it needs to go.

When Andrew and Olivia asked for buckwheat or clover seeds for cover crops, we went right out and got them. It is so great to see this deepening knowledge and initiative throughout the farm team. We want to make sure they have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively. We are so glad they have the energy to tackle making cover crops part of the rotation! Cover crops are a lot of extra work and cost, but they create a lot of benefits. It is important to have different families of plants follow each other so pests and diseases don’t build up. The rye grows thick and tall to smother out weeds and add carbon to the soil. The clover fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere into their little root nodules, releasing it into the soil to help crops grow. Buckwheat grows fast, smothers weeds, and pollinators love the flowers.

As the cost of manure and transport skyrockets, we are very grateful to these cover crops for adding fertility and tilth to the soil. Another farm where we got manure for free in the past, is now using it on their land instead of buying synthetic fertilizer (a good thing). Everyone is talking about increasing costs, and we’re all trying to be proactive about reducing our expenses by nurturing “free” biological resources. We will continue to use some livestock manure because it seems to turbo charge biological cycles by feeding soil microbes, but we’re going to use less over time as we introduce more cover crops.

Eli harvesting in the rain
Capitu picking tomatoes
David is putting insect net up on the greenhouse we call Nina. It was getting too hot inside, so we’re letting heat out without letting cucumber pests in.
Swiss chard looking over the Cogmagun River
Andrew applying manure to a new area being brought into production. This will allow us to have more cover crops in the rotation.
Everyone knows what these are
The fireflies going at it on the mint
So typical to see David on the phone while trying to get a farm chore completed. Here the cucumbers are looking on behind him

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