Traditionally spring in the Nth Rivers was known by the indigenous people to be the hot dry season, and this spring is certainly keeping up with tradition! We have had no rainfall for months, plus strong winds and warm weather. Temperatures across the country have soared over the weekend, our first heatwave coming into summer….which all present particular challenges when farming …mainly how to get enough water to keep the plants growing and thriving.
We are now 100% reliant on irrigation, as there has been no rain. We are using drip tube irrigation to keep the gardens alive, and to minimise water wastage whilst doing so. The advantage of using the drip irrigation is that the plants are watered at their roots where they need it, and no water is lost…we also use mulch or weedmat on all of our production beds to ensure that the soil does not dry out in these harsh conditions.
Another strategy we use with success is shadecloth…My wonderful partner Isaac, spent much of last week covering our growing number of salad production beds to reduce the transpiration stress on our greens. We observe that the salad plants grow better in the warmer months with this protection, and it also ensures us a high quality product…with the added benefit of a cooler more protected environment for us to plant and harvest over the summer months 🙂
Spring crops have also been planted- cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and zucchini’s so far and more seedlings growing in the nursery….Spring is a busy time at our farm!