Drought is a word not to be used lightly. I say this mostly for my own benefit as in years past when we have been without regular rain for a few weeks (maybe even a month) I have trotted out the term along with the drama associated. But this year in the usually temperate, lush and water laden Northeast we are really there. By my measurement we had a little over an inch of rain in July (average is 4″) and about two and a half for June (average 4.25″). This puts us behind about 4.5 inches as of this week, which for thirsty vegetables is pretty bad. We have been irrigating almost constantly for the past few weeks and keeping up with most things. To do this we have to move water from our well in the fields anywhere from 400 to 3500 feet. The farm has a good supply of aluminum pipe that comes in 30′ lengths and connects together quickly much like the attachments on a vacuum (only a lot bigger and longer). We run these pipes up and down hills and under the roads to make lifelines that feed each field. To get the water to move and be able to spray it on the fields we have to pressurize the lines each time they are broken down and assembled, finding leaks and flushing dirt and detritus picked up in the moving. Once we have a field setup we water everything we can, trying not to lose the precious pressure that makes the flow from the well across great distances possible. Once we get to the fields we have guns that spray water on to a 60 to 120 foot swath at a time taking anywhere from 3-6 hours to saturate that area before they need to be moved over to wet the next swath. In this fashion it can take a day or two to water a field and this is with many late night gun movements. All in all there is nothing that difficult about irrigation, but it reminds us how much we like it when the water just falls from the sky.
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