Water!

… And the rain finally came!

For many of us, this past summer was all about checking the weather radar, raising our hopes, and then watching a storm slide to the north or slide to the south with only clouds of dust to show for it.

Water.  The make-or-break commodity for farmers around the world.  For millennia, we have been digging ditches and installing systems either to drain the land or irrigate it.  Here at Indian Head Farm we both drain and irrigate, using practices supported by soil and water resource specialists to grow a full array of fresh produce, even during seasons of drought.

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We depend on a pond, dug in a hollow created by the natural contours of the land, to store the water that we use for irrigation.  The pond is recharged after rainfalls and snow melts with the help of a dug ditch that you may have seen dividing the blueberry fields and draining the lowlands during wet spells.  Additionally, a system of specially designed underground drainage pipes collects and directs ground water into the pond.

Notice that the water level has dropped later in the season. The pipe and float in the foreground draws the water into the pump.
Notice that the water level often has dropped later in the season. The pipe and float in the foreground draw the water into the pump.

Water is further conserved by the use of drip irrigation on many of our crops.  You may have noticed narrow, flexible, perforated hoses running along the rows of plants throughout many of our fields.  Water from wells drips directly and efficiently to the roots of each plant.

Drip irrigation is helping young plants get started. Late in the summer, "dripping" mature strawberry plants will help ensue a healthy crop in the spring.
Drip irrigation is helping young plants get started in the spring. Late in the summer, “dripping” mature strawberry plants will help ensue a healthy crop  next spring.

When water gets scarce, as it was this year, these conservation measures are especially rewarding.  While our lawns may have been brown and brittle, our farm stand was still filled with healthy and robust fruit and vegetables.

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