2015 has been a race at Terra Firma. The dry, warm weather sped up everything on the farm, and we have had a hard time keeping up. Sure it’s nice to have strawberries on April Fool’s Day and Peaches for Mother’s Day. But there were also beets roots are growing faster than we could get them out of the ground.
The warm weather also accelerated the growth of our winter cover crops, and with the ground under them drying out, we had a limited amount of time to get them incorporated into the soil. Most years this work takes place over a two month period, but this year we finished preparing the fields in just over three weeks.
But it was a good thing we were able to prepare those fields. Because the plants in the greenhouses were racing along too. Across the board our transplants were ahead of schedule thanks to the lack of clouds and cold weather.
The warm weather also caused a few new problems for us, as we were fighting plant diseases and pests that are not normally an issue for us in March and April.
We don’t ever have extra time in the spring — except when it rains — but this year it felt to us like we lost a month somewhere.
Now here we are at the end of May, ready for summer. The tomato plants are loaded with green fruit and the corn is tasseling. And…spring has finally shown up.
If you live in the Bay Area, you may think the cold, foggy weather of late is an indication that summer has arrived. But here on the farm, it’s been cool and cloudy for most of two weeks as well and the forecast is for more of the same. After months of above-normal temperatures thanks to strong high pressure, the weather has flip flopped. In the mountains, it’s been raining almost every night.
Coincidentally, forecasters announced last week that signs are now pointing towards a growing El Nino in the Pacific Ocean. Whether or not it ends up actually happening, the weather pattern tied to the persistent drought has very clearly changed. If this new regime sticks around until the fall, it’s gonna be a wet one.