We have been watering the late vegetable garden, container plantings and newer transplants frequently during these last weeks as the temperatures stayed in the upper 90’s.  Last night we had rain – with much lower temperatures – removing that chore from our nightly list.  It was a relief for me; the hose is awkward and the watering cans too heavy for me to lift to the hanging pots.  Our night temperatures are dropping rapidly, so I will probably pick the lettuce daily now.  The carrots and beets will be fine and I think the spinach and string bean plants will be too unless we have an early frost.  I am not disappointed in the short summer, but I hope we do not have an early winter.

Selfish as I am about my own gardening needs, we drove past many newly cut hay fields on the way home from the rodeo last night in the rain.  Our spring weather was so wet the loss of first cuttings of hay were heavy; lets hope the outlying areas do not see heavy downpours until all the hay is up.  Onions, legumes, and seed crops are also cut to dry now with the same problems.  Farming is such a gamble!  Too much water, too little water… too cold, too hot… nature holds the aces no matter the game.  Japan’s tsunami earlier this year underscored the drastic shifts in supply and demand.  The previous two years of cold-spring and unusual rain patterns reduced the available grain crops around the world, making the increased need in Japan harder to meet.

In my last few years of close exposure to agriculture I have had speedy lessons in the layers of issues facing these brave souls: seed sources/availability, planting equipment right for the soil/weather/seed, irrigation or not, temperatures, insect and disease, harvest equipment right for the soil, etc., transportation equipment and  storage with proper conditions to optimize freshness of the crop.  This doesn’t even face the challenges of contracts to pre-sell the crop or the risk of speculative growing (no contract).

As I submerse myself in the Master Gardener training now I hope to understand more about large scale agriculture as well as my small scale growing.  Oh, and I hope to have dry enough weather to work on my antique desk this week too.  Thank you to my dearest love for covering the desk and tiles with a tarp to protect them for me.

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