June 9, 2010
Watching the Weather
Looking for the details in farming is a daily experience.
Feeling the chilly air mass that has moved into the region has been a welcome relief and has given us some cushion in the fields. The heat we were experiencing has a tendency to make our plants "bolt", which in short means they are going to seed. Those plants that don't like hot weather sense that their season is coming to an end and begin to flower and put out seeds. It is the plants way of reproducing itself. Already we have seen the chard, spinach, lettuces, cilantro and basil begin to make their seeds. Luckily we are seeing small squash starting to appear to replace those items that will be passing out of season until their fall return. And our beans are starting to create flowers - soon to be beans! Though we have felt a little cooler the past few days we still constantly watch the sky and try to read the signs around us to predict our timing for watering, planting, mulching, and harvesting. Many things on a farm go unnoticed except to those who walk the fields each day. Here are a few things we look for as we "read" the signs.
  • Leaves show their backs when a storm wind blows over them (prior to rain)
  • Birds tend to fly higher during a high pressure air system (fair weather skies)
  • Halos occurring around the sun or moon are signs of an approaching rainstorm
  • Insects often swarm before a rain, seek shelter in the high tunnel or greenhouse, and bite most when there seems to be more moisture in the air
  • Dew is heavy and appears early in the evening when the weather the next day will be fair, but no dew is a sign of possible rain
  • Hiding Stars are sings of rain
  • Clear sharp tips to a crescent moon are signs of a windy day to follow
The next time you're in the fields...look at the sky and "read" it.