Farm Focus: Serendipitous Weather

As most of you know we recently completed the planting of a new parcel of peach trees. These trees currently stand about two feet tall, and they are experiencing a rush of spring growth; leafing out in all directions.

With the planting of this new parcel of orchard, we had to install a new block of irrigation. This meant digging trenches, laying irrigation pipe and installing a new pump to move the water. Farmer Al was pleased as all of the installation went smoothly, “all of the I’s were dotted, and T’s crossed.” With the baby trees planted and a busy season just ahead, Al and Becky took off on one last vacation before the rush of fruit was upon them. A couple days into the vacation, Al received a frantic call from his irrigation manager. He was trying to turn on the water in the new field, and nothing was happening. He discovered that there was no power hooked up to the water pump. All the details had been sorted out, except we had forgotten to call P.G.& E. to hook up electricity to the pump, meaning no water could be moved to the field.

The following week consisted of panicked phone calls, and running between the city and PG & E offices trying to get the mess sorted out. After about a week we got the PG & E inspector to visit the site. He alerted us that it would be 2-3 weeks before the inspection would be processed and power connected to the pump. Two weeks was too long for our new babies to wait. And to make matters worse, a heat wave was on the way and by later that week we had weather in the high 90s! This heat was coupled with windy days, drying out the ground even faster. We began to worry; the young trees could not survive these dry conditions for more than a few more days. We wondered, is there another way to get the field irrigated while we wait for electricity?

But then to our relief, the rain clouds came to our rescue. The weather report called for a half inch of rain, but instead we received nearly 2 inches of rain over the weekend! Our clay soil holds water very well, so this was enough rain to hold us over for the next two weeks. This serendipitous weather event could not have shown up at a better time!

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