This has been a surprisingly dry summer, and now we can see the results of it. As the haze from fires around the state fill our air, farmers get to deal with the consequences.
But remember those cloud bursts last week? For some it was the first real rain since April. The huge amounts of snow melt have kept rivers and springs fed in some areas, but others were already starting to get parched.
Then those little thunderstorms blew in. As Christina Castellanos put it, “The Earth got to drink.” Thursday it dumped on East End Road and up in Ninilchik and Friday it dumped on Nikolaevsk.
Paul and Jen at Willgrow Farm saw the clouds in the distance billowing up in Nikolaevsk Friday and rushed out with the seeder to plant carrots in the beds they had prepared. They didn’t get as much rain as Nikolaevsk, but they got a little more than Rick Steffen’s farm down by Blackwater Bend.
Dan and Luba’s gardens, however, were right at the epicenter of the Nikolaevsk storm. The rain came down so hard and fast that it was pooling up behind their beds and washing over them, endangering their tender new transplants. They spent the storm trying to divert water.
Robert Heimbach got a more gentle amount of rain and was quite happy for it. He pointed out that now that all his dry beds with dry seeds have been saturated, they will start growing. So now the pressure is on even more to make sure that those delicate new plants stay watered.
Robert is prepared with a trailer loaded with old chest freezers as holding tanks that he can drive around his farm to irrigate. Jen says they are discussing building a holding pond for future water security. Dan is on the Nikolaevsk community water system. Everyone will have to figure out the best way to secure their water for their farm.
All of this is so we can get local, fresh and nutritious food. So come on down to the Homer Farmers Market this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 2-5 Wednesday and see the fruits of all their labor.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.