Old Plank Farm
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The Rain Key Game

Posted 7/3/2018 7:27pm by Stephanie Bartel.

Whenever rain seems imminent (something I usually am very happy for during the growing season!), I like to play a game I call The Rain Key Game. When the gray clouds roll in, I start to think about what I am supposed to do to help the farm before the rain sets in. What I'm looking for is the key action from me that will bring on the rain. Sometimes the game is easy and I find the key right away. It'll be an open window on our delivery vehicle. I better close the window so rain doesn't get in I'll think to myself, then off I go to do it, and as soon as it's done...BOOM...rain! That's the Rain Key Game. Sometimes the game is harder. After closing open windows and still no rain, I dig a little deeper. Maybe I am supposed to plant one more bed of salad. So I'll plant a bed of salad and as I'm finishing....BOOM...rain! Another win at the Rain Key Game.

Some days I'll play the game all day long, accomplishing one task after another that ought to be done before rain, and still no rain comes. Close windows, close doors, disc a field, pre-make next week's planting beds, plant some salad, mow here, weed there, plant some more salad, put away tools left outside...and on and on. At the end of those days, I figure I lost the game but at least I got a lot done!

While Milwaukee and most other parts of the state have had ample rains in the last five weeks, Plymouth has been under a very dry spell. In the last five weeks we've only had one soaker rain and a couple of drizzles that don't soak in to the soil or reach the plants' roots. This is somewhat difficult for us, since June is planting month, and new plants need rain! Lawns all around here are browning, fields are dry, even some weeds are wilting.

So we are spending a lot of time and energy irrigating to keep healthy as many crops as we can. Most things at Old Plank Farm look really good right now. The warm weather coupled with some irrigation has helped us to have some great early summer crops! Meanwhile, we are facing the reality of what a dry spring means. Some lost greens, slowed growth when irrigation just isn't enough, and a risk of running the well dry. Even Beetie is a little wilty right now, but he and I are confident that we'll find a rain key sometime soon and everything will perk up!!

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