The dry hot weather continues and according to http://www.farmaid.org, it’s the worst drought for farming in 50 years. Virginia is not in the areas designated as severe drought, but we haven’t had the rainfall as in past years. The latest weather report said we were 8 inches behind in rain just in this area of Virginia!
The U.S. isn’t alone. Europe and parts of Asia/India are also suffering severe drought. I certainly remember only one other summer as bad, almost a decade ago, where everything locally got just brown, and no one needed to mow for weeks.
Many of the big farms around Richmond are not producing as much and we see an impact here, too, with slowdowns in squash production and cukes and the plants that really rely on moisture. Our trees and vegetation struggle a lot during a drought, we have water and we get water to the plants—but it’s just not the same. If there is too much vegetation they start competing for water. The heat and dry weather make bug infestation more intense also, meaning more use of hot pepper spray. We’ve cut most of our corn except for a small patch of the Ark of Taste choice Flint corn (not a sweet corn) which has held up beautifully to the hot weather. It’s an heirloom and is usually used for cornmeal or seed corn. (Think polenta—this is the right corn for it!). We’ll plant more of that next year—this year was primarily a trial, but the Flint corn outdid the sweet corn by far!
We were going to plant more snap peas for the fall but are reconsidering, as our peas did not do well this spring, given the hot dry weather, and we are in the same weather pattern now.
One benefit of the dry weather is that the soils are in good shape for planting. We’ve tilled up about ½ acre and are tilling more as we replant.
The goats are enjoying the corn fodder (stalks)—they like these almost as much as the carrots, if not more, and it’s good for them.
The guineas and 24 hen hatchlings have arrived and are in the kitchen; the other 30 birds are in the henhouse, hesitant to come out into their outdoor enclosure, except for one rooster who goes back and forth. I hope that they’ll get more comfortable and use the run outside.