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from the Field

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November 4, 2018
What A Long Strange Trip This Season Has Been
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan

Fall hiking trip in Ralph Stover State Park.
Well, it's official: with the additional rainfall received Friday night, 2018 is now the wettest growing season during our ten-year tenure at Anchor Run Farm. Four feet of rain has fallen since March 1st, providing 13 inches above the ten-year average. We're thankful we've made it through the Main Season with farm shares that have hopefully been ample and satisfying to you, our CSA members. Years like this give me pause when I consider our tenuous relationship with and full dependence on our soils, the earth, and the climate to try to grow healthy organic produce. While we strive to control as many variables as possible within the realm of organic agriculture, there remains a most powerful independent one: the weather. Raised beds, waterways, water diversions, contour buffer strips, etc., help our crops deal with excess water, but our most foolproof tool is the plastic covered steel structure, i.e. the greenhouse, hoop house, hoop tunnel, high tunnel.
During this penultimate week of pick ups for Full and Medium shares and the final one for Week A Half shares our attention continues to shift to these almost weather proof structures for November through December harvests. Last week we finished planting the final succession of cold season crops and now we'll simply coax them along with weekly additions of well water through drip irrigation. Three of our four structures have no supplemental heat besides solar radiation so we'll monitor closely the forecast temperature lows so that we can erect low tunnels within the larger tunnels. The greenhouse has a built in propane heater which we'll set for 35 degrees to keep plants from freezing. This will enable them to grow/regrow faster than their unheated counterparts.
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