Seamus from Dublin CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) gives us an insight on how he experienced the last few months, farming on his plot of land in Celbridge to provide the members of the CSA each week with seasonal produce.
It’s been a funny old year weather wise so far. First we had the winter that would never end, now we’re in the middle of a severe drought. Despite the weather extremes Dublin CSA has been back in action a month and is getting into a rhythm again.
The plot was covered in three to four foot of snow at the start of March but luckily there was no structural damage as a result. It just left the broad beans looking a bit worse for wear but they have recovered enough to feature in the share this week. Go beans! Interestingly, although the heatwave has proved a challenge for some crops, the heat lovers in the poly-tunnels are really sucking up the heat (48°C yesterday). The basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and gourd (thanks to Manuela from Sicily for the seeds) are all doing well. They are growing by the day and hopefully there’ll be tomatoes and cucumbers in the box soon.
Outside the drought is real. There is no or very little soil moisture to a depth of four inches or more. The water collected from the tunnel earlier in the year (in the bath and pond) has long since been used up so there is a need to use a small sprinkler just to give things a chance. Crops planted under plastic has fared better with no need to water them since planting – this includes courgettes, pumpkin and squash. The carrots have been under fleece since they germinated so I won’t be lifting that to annoy them – they should be fine anyway as the fleece helps to retain moisture. One semi-casualty of the drought has been leeks. They were planted quite late in a seed bed outside and due a bit to neglect and competition from weeds; although they are still alive, are struggling with their shallow roots and are some way off being ready to go to their final planting positions.
In terms of the outlook there is plenty of the growing season left. Although there is no rain in the forecast at present, if we get some in the next fortnight I am confident that crops will catch-up at the end of the season. We could well be sitting inside our poly-tunnels in a months’ time waiting for a break in the rain as last summer with this heatwave long forgotten. But while it lasts let’s get value out of the shorts and string vest.