Farmers adjust to record-setting rainfall

By Katrina Bush - For the Record-Herald

“Raine raine goe to Spain: faire weather come againe” (attributed to James Howell, 17th century).

Many farmers might be wishing something similar, for planting and mowing and weeding need dryer conditions.

My eggplant starts were the nicest ever, four or more inches high, and strong of stem and already hardened off. I practice four-year rotations of vegetables, and the quadrant in which the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant were to be this year is the wettest quadrant of the garden. So, I’d made the extra effort to create “hills” for planting these crops, so the water would settle between and to the outside of the rows.

The torrential and record-breaking rains came and the eggplant were practically standing in water, at the bottom end of the primarily pepper row. There is now a short trench leading out of that row and under the deer fence and across the mowed area into the pasture, and this has helped divert some of the excess water. The more recent dry and hot temperatures hardened the soil and required plants and people to adjust to new extremes.

Farmers and gardeners alike plant by certain prescribed timelines, including lunar phases, planting zone suggestions, family traditions and formal educational training. With the increasing unpredictability of the weather, what is “known” may not provide the expected results. Like the last two years, heavy rains in May are making it difficult for farmers to get crops planted and for gardeners to even get the beds ready. Crops already in the ground are perhaps flooded in this flat, high water table area of the state.

It is easy, when one is not planting oneself, to be fairly oblivious to the temperamental nature of growing food, and how frustrating it can be for a farmer to plant at the right time by the calendar and temperatures, but then have those labors and seed costs lost by some season excess. Farmers who sell at restaurants or farm stands or farmers markets are all focused on meeting demand but it is not unusual for those efforts and planning to be thwarted by rain, wind, hail, freeze, drought, insects or a pernicious mammal.

Our Fayette County Farmers Market vendors are extremely appreciative of the generosity and patience of the community of market shoppers. You may not see the produce you thought would be available, but take a look around and see if there is something new or different which might be fun to try.

The Market is open Saturday morning from 8:30 to noon and is located in the municipal parking lot on the corner of South Main and East East streets in Washington C.H. SNAP EBT food benefit cards and credit/debit cards are accepted. Those using the SNAP EBT card for food purchases receive matching dollar “Produce Perks” tokens ($1 for $1) good only for fruits, vegetables, and food producing plants. So,”buy one, get one” for up to $20 EVERY market day. Five-dollar coupons will be available again for FAYETTE COUNTY Farm Bureau members at each Saturday market; these can be spent at both the Wednesday and Saturday markets.

The following list contains the names and products of the vendors that expect to set up this Saturday. Other vendors may participate as well. Vendors who provide their phone number may be contacted for advance orders.

Greens & Greenery (Katrina Bush): Vegetable and herb plants (tomatoes—paste and plum, beefsteak and small slicers—, kale, basil, okra); flowering, herbal and decorative perennials (ferns, bee balm/monarda, echinacea – purple and yellow, lemon balm citronella, garlic chives, chives, oregano, horseradish, mountain mint, columbine, marguerite kelways, amsonia, hyssop and anise hyssop, shasta daisy, sage, clary sage, “stormy seas” coral bells,). Glycerin and honey soap, beeswax hand creams and lip balms. Sour dough crackers in variety of flavors.

Kelsie’s K-9 Creations (Jennifer Anderson): featuring healthy, limited ingredient cookies and treats for your 4 legged friends.

Your Other Mother’s Kitchen (Don & Sara Creamer—740-572-0134): Artisan bread, bran and morning glory muffins, and asparagus weather permitting.

Bridge View Garden (Hunter & Lorelle Rohrer, 740-505-5125): Spring garden plants, flowers, hanging baskets, fresh produce (asparagus, radishes, green onions, mixed greens).

B.Y.E Gardens (Brian and Elaine Yoder): Face Masks. Sweet rolls (cinnamon, raspberry), brownies, sweet breads (strawberry, zucchini, banana, banana-nut, pumpkin), small small pies (blackberry-rhubarb, strawberry-rhubarb, raisin, triple berry, cherry, blackberry, pecan), cookies (peanut butter, butterscotch). Call Elaine Yoder @ 740-605-6333 for special orders.

Cozy Baby Blessings (Nancy Cutter): Face masks for adults and children (3 sizes), crocheted baby blankets, hats and wash cloths, flannel baby blankets, burp cloths, bibs and teething toys, crochet pot scrubbers, coasters and wax melts (over 60 scents available; to pre-order wax melts, text 740-572-2118 for order form).

DSC Produce Farm (Darren Cox): Private label salsa and salad dressing.

Engedi (Alana Walters, Janet Bick, Beth Day): Assorted home baked goods including cinnamon rolls, yeast bread and rolls, cookies, fruit pies and noodles.

Katrina Bush is a vendor with the Fayette County Farmers Market.

By Katrina Bush

For the Record-Herald