Dry is the word at Wishetwurra Farm. Since the snow melted at the end of March, we have not had two inches of rain. Normal rainfall would be seven or eight inches. The weather service says our area is now in a state of “moderate drought”. Here’s a screenshot from their New England drought map. Yellow is low-level drought, tan is moderate drought.
In response to the lack of water, we are watering. The garden “splurge” this spring has been eight seventy-five foot rolls of fabric-covered soaker hose. That’s six hundred feet of the stuff. We already had that much on hand, but it wasn’t enough. Every few days we deploy hose here, or there, depending on which planting is suffering the most. For fruit trees, the berries, and the house gardens, we aim to give good soakings every two or three weeks. In the garden we are trying to soak weekly, except for the real water-lovers like lettuce, or crops that are bearing right now. Freshly planted seeds need checking twice daily, and often need water each time we look at them.
Strawberries and pease are the big news right now.
There are few fruits finer than a still-warm-from-the-sun just-picked strawberry.
Pease are another big event. We started them in a plastic cell flat inside, and as soon as they germinated, we sent them out to the greenhouse, where they grew on for a few weeks. As soon as the roots filled the cells enough so that the “plugs” could be removed without losing the growing medium, we transplanted the plants out to the garden. You can never tell, when you do this, whether a late cold spell will come and kill the seedlings, but pushing the season is always worth trying. We gamble this way for the possibility of extra-early pease.
Yesterday we picked almost seven pounds of pease, from a March 25 seeding.
The early-start gamble paid off.
And it paid off doubly, for it turned out that our pickings were early indeed.
How early? Early enough to win the first-peas-of-the-season contest at Morning Glory Farm. Morning Glory Farm is a real farm, not a wish-it-were-a kind of farm like ours. Our friends Jim and Debbie Athearn and their children run the place, and a mighty fine place it is. We’ll write something about them one of these days.
On a whim, I called the farmstand number to see if anyone had brought in first-pease. The answer was “not yet”. On offer was a seventy-five dollar gift certificate, three free trips to the salad bar, and bragging rights for the year to come.
We straightaway shelled out a cup of pease, the amount required to claim the prize, grabbed another handful of pods, to pass around to anyone who might want to eat some, and headed to Edgartown.
Some hoopla was made when the pease arrived at Morning Glory.
The arrival of the pease was loudly announced to all present.
The ceremonial crown and sash were produced.
And placed on head and over shoulder.
We may now brag for one year.
Postscript, June 2016. We won “first peas” again.
We may now brag for another year.