Once again we thought we were safe. Nothing but sunshine and 80 degree weather in the weather report. The broccoli outgrew the protective covered tunnel so we removed it. Things looked great!
It’s June 21st and I took time off from my full time job to finish re-planting some transplants from the earlier hailstorms. The night before the meteorologists now predicted snow in the mountains and thunderstorms in our area. It wasn’t until the day off they sent out the Severe Thunderstorm Warning and Tornado Watch. Thunderstorms through the weekend. Hail possibly the size of golf balls!
I stopped what I was doing and pulled down the covers for the lettuce bed, tomatoes, peppers and beans. The squash is still small and low to the ground.and root vegetables are relatively safe as they have a lot of leaves now. Losing a few leaves won’t kill them. The onions and garlic don’t have open leaves so I never worry about them.
Watching helplessly from inside I kept an eye on the pumpkin patch that we had successfully reseeded and transplanted yet again this morning. And then it came! Hours of heavy pouring rain and small hail! It started at 12:30 pm and was on and off until almost 8 PM. In the end it was 4 hail storms that luckily only did a small amount of damage, and we have transplants inside to replace any that may die.
We are concerned again for what tomorrow will bring and wonder…..will this ever end! How far is too far to go to grow the crops you planned? We need to make money and every time we have to grow new transplants or buy new seeds, more money is coming out of our pocket and the extra work is tiring. What will the return on our manual labor investment be?
We are very lucky to not be in a single crop commercial operation. I wonder how many of those farms will have to shut down due to lack of production this year? The weather has been crazy!
Watch the video of me watching the first of 4 hailstorms out the window:
Finally after weeks of bad weather we finally have right sized lettuce and spinach up for sale! The snow, thunderstorms and hail went on for so long we were getting worried we might lose one of our best selling crops.
The light colored lettuce at the top is Black Seeded Simpson Leaf Lettuce. It’s an heirloom variety that is so tender, commercial processors can’t sell it because it would bruise before getting to the customer. That’s why you need to buy local produce. You’ve never tasted anything so good.
Behind that lettuce is an Bloomsdale, an heirloom spinach. Seeds were collected at the end of a growing season. We are very happy with how well it is growing in the cool moist weather!
You can see some slow growing red lettuce and next to that is polka dotted heirloom from more collected seed. Those are 4th generation seeds!
At the end front we have Little Gems which is a small romaine that is very crispy and has a nice crunch. There is a lot of flavor in this one. This is our favorite!
Behind the Little Gems is a new variety of spinach I wanted to try called Renegade which does not bolt as easy as your standard spinach. We thought it would be worth a try since the heat here will cause early bolting in the summer. This spinach grew enormous, thick leaves about 6 inches long! They are great for steaming but are very delicate. We are eating most of this ourselves due to tearing of the leaves. We probably will not grow it again .
We are doing succession planting by planting a new single row every 3 weeks so we always have new, young and tender lettuce to sell. It will last into October if the weather doesn’t get too hot or cold through the season.
To build the salad leaves of greens are collected one leaf at a time and field rinsed before being packed in gallon sized bags. Customers order as they want and we deliver directly to them. This has been one of our most successful crops.
We are excited to say that the new experimental hives that we set up for the new bees are working well! These hives are 2 boxes high and wide open. There are fewer frames custom made by us with no wax base. They started from scratch!
This window was a custom add on we created so we could keep an eye on the bees progress. We will never really be able to open the hive based on this new format so the window will be handy to monitor the health of the hive without disturbing them.
Considering we only received the bees a month ago and they have been through a 6 inch snow storm and 3 hailstorms they are doing incredibly well! We are anticipating more honey this year than we have ever collected based on both the new and old hives. We have a total of 4 thriving hives at the moment.
We also had the highest amount of moisture this spring than we’ve ever had. The state has been in a drought and we finally caught up to where we should be. This means a lot of vegetation growth. The pollen count is extremely high and the bees are reaping the reward. Even though the apple, plum and pear blossoms mostly froze during the late spring snow storm, there is still plenty of blossoms on the property.
We are looking forward to pulling honey from the Flow Hives.
I spend 4 hours this morning finally planting tomatoes and peppers. Then I replanted new transplants for the plants we just lost in a terrible hailstorm. This included cucumbers, pumpkins, basil, okra, squash and a first planting of sunflowers.
I was pretty sore from all the extra work trying to recover from the hailstorm so decided to get a massage. The first 45 minutes was very relaxing when suddenly there was a roaring noise that distracted my masseuse. She said “do you here that?” I said yes. She asked “Do you think that’s rain?” I knew immediately we were in a hailstorm. NOT AGAIN! I completely lost all the relaxation I had achieved.
I got home and assessed the damage. There was about the same amount of damage as the last storm but to add insult to injury it was the new replantings that took the brunt of it. Luckily I grew extra transplants this second time around so was able to plant again. The only exception is the pumpkins. I need start them all over again!
More severe thunderstorms are projected this week but we have to continue replanting as they come. If we don’t we could lose the whole season. Wish us luck!
After recovering from the Memorial Weekend snow storm we planned to spend the first weekend in June finally getting the last of the transplants into the ground. All that was left was pumpkins, tomatoes and peppers.
We got down to the last 2 pumpkin plants when there was a lightening strike that surprised us and forced us to stop. Luckily we thought to grab the tomatoes and peppers to bring them back inside.
Dime sized hail pummeled the crops for almost 10 minutes. The rain was so heavy it rushed down the rows and aisles dragging down soil and a couple inches of hail. The loss of soil exposed the radishes and pulled some seed into the aisles between the rows. Of the pumpkins I had just planted only 2/3 of them survived. About a quarter of the squash was lost and the majority of the celery stocks had to be pruned off. The spinach and broccoli leaves had holes and the beans were torn here and there. All the root vegetables were a little ragged but will survive fine.
We spent the next day cleaning up and planting seed inside to get fast germination to catch us back up with the season.Then we heard the news we may get a couple more hailstorms in the upcoming week. Frustrated, we finally covered the most delicate plants and held the tomatoes and pepper for another week. Luckily we only had a couple days of small, soft hail that did no damage.
While this weather has been detrimental to the timing of our crop sales, it’s better to happen early in the season rather than later when the produce is in harvest…like last year’s August hailstorm. We Will Survive!
See the hailstorm and then the impact on the garden on the farms YouTube Channel: