Beating The Heat On A Small Farm.

This past two weeks we have had an ‘excessive heat warning’ and now even though the heat is reducing a little its still HOT out there. This makes life on a farm difficult to say the least. While some people seem to enjoy working outside when its hot I don’t and neither does anyone else on our farm. So we have to plan a strategy.

In the late evening we take a walk through the fields to check everything out and see how the crops are doing. Any immediate problems are addressed. This usually means fixing an irrigation leak or removing an errant weed or two. We make a note of what crops are in need of harvesting.

We get up with the sun, usually around 5am and get out in the fields by 5.30am to harvest the crops earmarked for that day. How much that is will depend on what the weather is going to be like for the rest of the week. If its going to be hot and we have a cooler day we will harvest everything we can fit in our fridge and process them during the week. Otherwise we harvest only what is essential to be harvested that day.

We plan our harvesting by the suns location. All harvesting in our side field is done first as the sun will hit that first as it rises over the trees on the east side of the property. Then we follow the line of shade across the fields harvesting as we go to try and stay in the shade as much as possible. It does not always work, sometimes a crop takes longer to harvest or we just cant keep up with the sun line, but most times it works pretty well.

Then we all scurry back to the house by 10am at the latest for a late breakfast. On really hot days we try for 9am unless we can work in the shade. Then we spend the rest of the day working on what we just harvested and getting as much into the dryers as possible, the rest goes in the refrigerator to be worked on the next day. If we have time we also try to get some office work – and blog writing done too. Office work always comes last as it’s not as perishable as crops. While this means that often our blog does not come out every few days it does mean we have a really great crop harvested and dried at its peak.

Keeping hydrated when working in the heat is always very important. We lug gallons of water down to the field and stop frequently to drink. This is extremely important for everyone who is working or even just being outside in the heat and sunshine. Staying safe and keeping cool is important. never stay or work outside if you can’t tolerate the heat.

main farm field
main field baking in the sun

Author: Janice Hazeldine PhD

Owner and head grower Floral Encounters. Organic Medicinal Herb Farm

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