It didn't take us very long to realize two important lessons in farming. 1) Things rarely go to plan, and 2) Mother Nature is the boss. The farm is a living organism, free-flowing like water, with many variables to account for. Observing and tending to this organism is part of the experience that makes farming beautiful for us but also makes us question our lack of control. One of the most dependent variables on the farm is the weather. The success of the farm, particularly the outdoor crops, depends on the weather and the moods of Mother Nature. Temperature, UV, wind, and precipitation are all things that the field crops are at the mercy of and, to an extent, can't control. All of these things affect the next thing, from pests, soil temperatures, etc., and inevitably, the health of the crops.
In the off-season, we try our best to plan for these variables and learn from our past year's experiences, but in time, we've learned we must account for curveballs year to year. This year's curveball has been, without a doubt, the amount of rain received from June - mid July.
I recall using the tractor in May to prepare some of our field beds and observing how dry the soil was. Later that day, the wind picked up, and it was so dry that there was a fair amount of dust blowing around from the dryness of the soil. This was abnormal for May, and I don't recall a year where I could get the tractor on even the wettest ground during this month. Fast forward a few weeks, and it's almost a blessing I was able to prepare all of the beds in May because June was a soaker. Our soil was fully saturated, and the sun was non-existent, with our seedlings planted at the end of May. They now needed some sun but were not getting it—almost an entire month without sun. Photosynthesis requires sun; without the sun, the imperative biological processes cannot be fulfilled. Hence the reason why most farmers' crops are, on average, about two weeks late this year. Two weeks late is a big deal for such a short farming season. But these are the farmers' struggles, and I wouldn't have it any other way. These struggles are the fruit of life and what allows us to open our eyes and smell the roses.
As of recently, the weather has taken a turn for the better, and most of our crops, while a tad behind, seem taller, stronger, and greener than any year I can remember. Not all of the crops appreciated the rain, however. As the name suggests, things like early-crop sunflowers needed more sun to do their thing properly. We had to protect them from things like mildew and funguses with organic sprays.
Overall, we are quite happy with the recent crops and the turn of the weather. We wish all the other farmers and gardeners out there a fruitful and full peak season. We appreciate and can relate to all of the efforts you put in and are grateful to all of the folks who support our efforts. Thank you all and keep your fingers crossed for an extended fall.