Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Carrying Water

Nugget in rainYou can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him or her drink. Though many horses need lots of water, I suppose it is up to the large animal as to when or how much to drink. You can bring a watering can full of water to a plant and you can hope that it drinks. One also hopes that the nutrient rich, compost laden soil will absorb a great deal of water so the roots will have a source of water in case there is a lack of water.  farm-fields2.jpgRecently, at the Farm, there has been a lack of water. After all that winter snow and all that melting, there seems to be very little water in the depths of the soil.  The plants we are growing at the Farm are hardy and pretty strong, but if there is little water in a well-turned garden bed, then the plant will be stressed when it is transplanted into the ground.  The need for water is even more necessary with seeds that are directly sown in the soil.  Trying to place carrot seeds, arugula, beet, cilantro and sunflower seeds in the ground demands constant water in the case where no rain is falling to the ground and the top layer of soil can so easily dry out. We have carried lots of full watering cans to the nearby fields of late. We have dragged many a long stretch of hose to those nearby fields and we have even drawn water from the well at the Farm to fill the large tank which sits on the cart that was brought to the field. We placed empty cans below the wash sinks that double washed the harvested spinach, so as to collect and re-use the water for thirsty seedlings.

HHF Education GardenAnd perhaps all this water work has led to a deluge of rain. Not a deluge that dangerously and recently fell in Texas, but a steady rain, at times a downpour, and many chances to penetrate the too too dry soil. The rain barrels are set to collect water from the gutters and downspouts, with more to be placed at nearby garden locations. A school group may not wish to tour the Farm in a downpour, but in between showers, the farmers will turn the soil for transplanting sweet peas, more field tomatoes and heeling in rows of potatoes whose eyes and sprouts will be thankful.

The large, wide horse buckets, where the equines have been led, will also fill with rain water for the horses to consider. And the farmers will quickly wish for sun, to make sure there is not too much rain in the fields. For too much rain can lead to muddy conditions, stuck tractors and washed away seeds.  We are looking for a balance and a mix of water and sun, while creatively storing and saving some for the next dry spell.  I am reminded of the many consistent years where it rained on my birthday when I was a kid. We found an indoor activity, usually going to the fire station, and made do for a fun birthday party.  I remember sunny birthdays as well, and these days I will celebrate the happy growth of well-watered, organic plants and vegetables.

© 2015, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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