A few weeks ago it rained 6 inches over a roughly 4 day period. It was an extended “soaking rain,” not a fast downpour that ran off into the drainage ditches. Over the past month or so we have gotten close to 10 inches of rain, including nearly 2 early last week.
That is not good for crops. Many fields do not have proper drainage, for whatever reason, and you have subsequent sections and spots where the plants (in my case, onions) literally start to drown and suffocate from a lack of oxygen being available to the roots.
See this CCE newsletter, pages 2-3 for details:
So, what can you do?
First, on June 28th I applied nitrogen to my most damaged fields.
Then, on Saturday and Sunday I went in with my Ac-G and duck hooks and hooked all of my wet spots, in an attempt to aerate the soil and dry the ground out.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we came within a hair of having another major flooding event with the Wallkill River. If we had gotten 7 or 8 inches of rain versus 6 or if the rain had come down in the form of a heavy downpour that mostly drained off versus slower rains that saturate the soil we probably would have seen an 8th “50 year flood.”
And that is an outrage because a river of that size should be able to handle a 7 or 8 inch rain event over a 4 day period. The reason why it can’t is because it has not been maintained. I and my neighbors cannot afford another flood of the magnitude and timing that occurred in 2011. If it happens again you can kiss most of the farming in the black dirt region goodbye!
Even though they were over saturated, they were never “flooded”. Flooding for surface water would likely make them unsafe to eat – like what happened in Irene. Not the case this time.
Yup … that is what I meant. As my earlier posts showed the water rose very high in the ditches at one point but never quite breached them. What many if not most of us have been dealing with are places that don’t drain well, leading to wet spots or locations where the plants are drowning or suffocating.