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News and Notes
from the Field

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September 24, 2017
Summer in Fall
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan
Two new beautiful varieties of mizuna/mild mustard greens in shades of red do look a bit thirsty.
This is the driest our soil has been all season long. We received just over an inch of rain almost 3 weeks ago and since then we've received .15 inches (which was almost 2 weeks ago). We added drip irrigation to the more sensitive water demanding crops of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, mostly because they're all beginning to head up and reach maturity. Years ago I remember reading that the brassica family is less able to scavenge for moisture than, say, the lettuce family. Daily I think about adding water to all of the other crops but with this heat I'm a little worried that if I add water these late fall crops will grow too fast and reach maturity too soon. But, given the high temperatures and low humidity plus wind, crops and soil are drying out faster. For now, we wait and hope for some rainfall to take away this difficult decision.
Even though it is very dry, the sun is lower in the sky and is out for much less time than it would be in July. We also benefit from fields that face north, have high organic matter, and have good soil structure, properties that conserve moisture in the soil. As you can tell below, even after a hot and dry day the mature greens still look healthy and happy. That's a big field to have to irrigate!
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