Rainfall this spring is pushing farmers out of the fields, the latest Crop Progress report showed only three days suitable for fieldwork in the week ending on April 27th.
Organic farmer Larry Cleverley grows produce north of Mingo in central Iowa; he says soil temperatures in his area only just peeked over the 50 degree mark at the beginning of April. He managed to get some crops in the ground before he was washed out.
“I guess we try to get into the field a little earlier than the row crop guys do because we have crops that would germinate at cooler temps.” He says, “We do things a little bit differently, we have smaller equipment, the fields don’t have to be quite as dry, that sort of thing. We don’t have to worry about much soil compaction when we’re walking down the fields with a hand planter.”
But the weather still is not the best news for the first Downtown Farmer’s Market on May 3rd in Des Moines.
Cleverley says, “Nothing we planted is going to be big enough for the farmers market this Saturday, all we’ll have this week are mostly things that we forage from the wild. We’ll have some wild nettles and some ramps, which are wild leaks. Maybe some wild arugula that we overwintered, but the cultivated stuff is just not going to be big enough.”
Cleverley thinks he’ll have a good supply of lettuces and greens available at the second Downtown Farmers’ Market on May 10th.