Standing Up To Drought

Courtesy of Wally S., Wally’s Urban Market Garden, Saskatoon SK

Most farmers usually try to plan based on following long terms trends. They aren’t fans of deviations from the norm. SPIN farmers like to change things up and experiment, and our scale of operation makes it low risk to do so. That’s a big advantage when it comes to extreme weather, which is now becoming the new normal for many of us. Here’s how I am starting to cope with it.

In the upper left of this photo you can see how my potato plot looked in mid-June.

SF photo potatoes before rain

No growth at all, because of drought. I have not seen it this dry here in years. I thought about terminating the plot, but I did not know how to go about it. Till it in, and you just have more small-sized seed potatoes. So I left it, and just did minimal irrigation, by hand, with a hose and brush attachment.

After 3 inches of rain at the end of July,  I visited the plot, and it looked like this.

SF photo potatoes after rain

Up until now, onions were my go-to crop for my peri-urban plots that needed to go for extended periods without irrigation and could get by with little rainfall. Now that drought may be my new normal, I’m going to have to push the envelope on other crops to see which ones hold up in extended dry spells. So far, it’s onions and potatoes that are helping me stand up to drought.