Forging ahead despite record heat and drought running into 7 weeks
Making my way back from work with African farmers took several days. Volunteers must accept whatever travel arrangements can be made, with long layovers and routing through Europe. Yet the work with international development staff in six large community gardens, USAID, lead farmers, farm technicians and artisan Senegalese tool-makers was rewarding and encouraging. Interest in organic agriculture is strong, and villagers were so grateful that some broke into spontaneous singing and dancing. In less than two weeks, a range of commercial quality tools was tested, adapted and fitted for a kit to replace the single tool available to tens of thousands of Senegalese farmers – a short-handled hoe from often recycled metal and hewn branches. I arrived home Sunday and found everyone here coping as best we can in the intense heat and drought. Despite farmers markets closing and even a number of large, resourceful CSA growers in central Wisconsin suspending delivery, our crew with help from some members, family and friends has helped Dela keep going as best we can. We’ve invested in an extra $1,000 of watering equipment, and our summer farm apprentices have kept moving tanks, sprinklers, drip tape and hoses to reach as many plants as possible. We are losing some vegetables, and others are delayed or yielding way less than normal temperatures and rain would provide. A whole section of the garden, however, has been harvested, mowed, tilled, covered with compost and tilled again. Replacement and fall crops will be seeded as soon as possible. Only once before have Dela and I nursed crops along through a six-week stretch without rain. This drought, breaking 60-year-old records, has run into 7 weeks. Son Micah attached barrels of water to our 4-row cultivator to water as he weeded our sweet corn. It was a noble attempt, but we risk losing the crop. Thank you for your support through this difficult time. With high temperatures on the heels of another mild winter, have come intense insect pressure. We’re scouting constantly for problems and meeting threats with every certified organic approved measure available to us. We’re doing the best we can for you. We pray for rain and relief from this heat.
Volunteers always needed –If you can spare some time to come by and help out with watering or other farm work that matches your individual abilities, you are always welcome. This Saturday is the mid-month work day for subscribers who are able. See web site and/or face book for details. Just give us a call or email in advance to let us know when to expect you. firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com / 608 897-4288.
This Week’s Vegetables are:
- Summer squash
- Long Cucumber
- Short cucumber
- Samples from our first tomatoes (Jet Star, Juliet, Sun Gold)
- Garden Extra (beans, or okra, or cauliflower)
Photos of this share help you identify each variety and can be found by the website or Facebook.
Cooking Tips for the Week
From our niece Abigail, Summer Cole Slaw: You know the shredding and dicing routine. Here’s what she recommends you use: 1 medium cabbage, 4 carrots, 1½ cup lemonaise (or some base of your choosing), salt and pepper to taste, ¼ c extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, Tbsp of sugar or honey, cilantro OR basil, one diced onion. Chop, mix and serve.