Wednesday, May 28, 2008

drip drip drop

Well, I forgot to talk about yesterday's weather-- it got up to about 85 degrees and was so sticky-humid I wanted to hose myself down by 8am!  I looked at the poor little plants & could feel a collective wilting instinct.  Then in the afternoon, dark clouds blew in, and threatened rain (50% said the weather report)... we crossed our fingers.  It did dump on us when we were driving through Yonkers, but hardly no rain fell on the farm.  There were strong winds all night, and the soil just dried up.  Thirsty plant roots don't make a sound, but I swear they were trying to shout something at us.

So we turned on irrigation, and watered as fast as we could pump it-- several hours of sprinklers on 7 rows, then we move the big clumsy PVC pipes over to the next section of field.  Besides overhead watering, Farmer Dave uses drip irrigation sometimes.  It puts the water right next to the plants roots, decreasing evaporation & saving water.  But it takes time to set it up, and then we'll have to worry about moving it when we need to cultivate.  
We decided to put drip irrigation in most of the upper fields.  We hook up a valve & filter to the main line, & piece together a header of 1 1/2" black plastic tubing (we're re-using scraps Dave has saved from previous years).  This requires hose clamps & a gas torch to melt the plastic a little.  Then we pulled 1/2" drip tape down each row of plants needing water, hook those into the header line, plug them up at the ends, plug up any holes from previous uses, and turn on the water.  Unless you're using brand new tubing, there will always be little geysers spritzing out at various points through the field, from mouse-chewed holes, etc.  And there will be the gushers.  Thankfully it was another hot, cloudless day, and we got soaked trying to put couplers in all the leaks.


But by the end of the day, I could tell the plants were breathing easier & thanking us. 

We tucked the eggplant back into it's Reemay blanket, but left the others uncovered.  Eggplant can easily get flea beetle damage (lots of little holes in the leaves) if not protected with this cloth.

Let's check out the greenhouse these days:
Watermelons & cantelopes!
Lettuces ready to go in the ground.
Chard looking spectacular as ever.
Fennel almost ready...
Scallions still growing.
And our three-sisters corn has sprouted!  Hopefully soon we'll get the ground all ready in our experimental garden plot to plant these in little "hills"...

And my grass-lovin' buddies are enjoying the shade, contentedly chewing their cud.
The chicks are now 4 weeks old, and looking a little adolescent.  They stray farther from mama hen, foraging their own from the compost heap & lawn.  But when mama starts clucking, they all run & follow her. 
And we have a new mama in the henhouse!  
In the past 24 hours, at least 6 have successfully broken out of their eggshells & even ventured a foot or two away & started eating chick-feed.  Mama was pretty hungry too.  I watched them for about an hour tonight, the little ones rolling over themselves and meekly looking around with wide open eyes.  There are 3 black ones, 2 yellow, and a striped brown one.

All is well on the farm tonight, and I enjoy a large dinner of roasted vegetables & salad, as I consider the work needing to be done tomorrow.

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