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Rain, rain go away!

During the early months of my internship, the region I was in experienced some wacky and unusually wet weather. In late May and June we experienced heavy rain on a daily and weekly basis. Because of this, multiple farms and the community experienced different effects from this. There was major flooding of fields, roads and homes. At times sections of the bottom field at Cherry Ridge Farm were completely submerged in water for days. The rain and flooding created some negatives and positives for the farming community in the area. Some examples of these were that the outside tomato crops get diseases and died and potatoes were rotting in the ground.

Another crop that was greatly effected were the hops at Whipple Creek Farm. In June we realized that some of our plants had downy mildew. Downy mildew produces stunted shoots and yellowed spotting of the leaves. We soon realized after doing a more advanced sweep of the field that the majority of the plants were infected.

Our next mode of action was to completely weed the beds of all the hops and strip all the leaves and new growth about 2 feet up the plant. This was extremely time consuming and labor intensive and took us about a week and a half. In conjunction to this we began using a fungicide called Zerotol to help control this problem. We used a mixture of 2 oz. Zerotol, and a gallon of water. We then used hand sprayers and individually sprayed every plant. This was another job that took a lot of time to complete and was also a health hazard if the person spraying wasn’t wearing the proper protective gear. We continued to spray about twice a week for about the next month and a half. The mildew eventually subsided and seemed to have mostly gotten under control.

The weather continued to be rainy throughout the summer and never seemed to be normal. This spring I took a class about Climate Change and Food Systems and learned about flooding and the problems it might cause our farmers. I feel like I definitely experienced the challenges that a rainy season brings and it helped prepare me for the some of the problems I might encounter later down the road with other jobs I have.

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