Field Notes: Volume 16, Number 19
This Week’s Harvest
Beans (Dragon Tongue)
As the fields begin to slowly dry out, I look back on the 15 inches of rain we received over the course of 12 days and remember when Colette and I were farming back in Minnesota. In August of 2007, we received 15 inches of rain in six hours. How different the soils and how different the outcome. The flood of 2007 that ravaged parts of southeastern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin, and northeastern Iowa dumped a total of 17 inches on our one-and-a-quarter acre garden over the course of 24 hours.
While farming in my hometown of Rochester, Minnesota, I also worked at a restaurant in the evenings, and I remember going into work that afternoon with the rain starting to come down. Never did I anticipate what lay ahead as the day progressed. The restaurant sat on a corner with expansive windows that allowed me to look into the soul of the storm. At times, the rains came so hard I could barely see across the street. When the downpour failed to cease, I nervously rang Colette to see how things were faring at the farm. I was disheartened to hear of the topsoil running off the surrounding soybean fields and heading toward the culverts under the road. Our garden, though, seemed to be doing much better. So I carried on at work as the rains continued. I was relieved to get home at the end of the night to face the damages head on. Thanks to rather sandy soils and pathways covered in firmly rooted white clover, our garden escaped relatively unscathed. Others were not so lucky. Better not to imagine what 17 inches of rain would do to the Ecosystem Farm in 24 hours. Instead, I will face the reality of receiving 15 inches over the course of nearly two weeks.