While rain is critical to our survival (as humans and as farmers), the rain has seemed unrelenting this fall, and we’ll have another inch or two by the time this current storm is done. It’s been slowing us down in the field as we have to wait to time root-digging harvests just right, and it’s been slowing our crops down too. Rainy days mean less sunlight (which obviously slows plant growth) but water-logged soils also slow plant growth. Plant roots (and their partners in crime, the soil microbes and mycelium) need oxygen to draw nutrients from the soil. When the ground is soaked with rain, oxygen can’t get to the plant roots and their friends, which hampers their ability to collect the nutrients they need out of the soil.
We’re seeing this affecting several different crops right now–smaller Carrots than we’re usually harvesting at this time of year, smaller Kale plants, as well as delays to harvesting some crops. Despite the challenge of all this rain, we were able to finish planting two important fall-planted crops for next year: Sunchokes and Garlic.
The Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) that are in the CSA, the Organic Harvest Boxes, and in the Farmstand this week were planted last fall and we’re happy they’re finally ready to eat. With the cold nights coming later this week, cranking up the oven to roast some Sunchokes sounds like the perfect plan to chase away the cold, rainy blues.