Broad Valley Orchard

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Well, It Is Officially a Drought (at Least in my Opinion)

Hello All,

I have held off on this announcement, because here at BVO we received sufficient water(75% of normal rains) thru May and June. But now I look at my July rain record, and see that it is only at 0.5 inches (1.25 cm) for the first two weeks of July, which is 25% of normal. What really tipped me off was when I drove 10 miles to the south, and saw corn only 2 feet (0.6m) high, and with the leaves bleached out and tightly wrapped. Our corn, with only bi-weekly light trickle irrigation, is 6 feet (2m) high, bright and dark green, and already in tassel and silk. I herby declare our region in a drought warning, and our local area in a drought watch.

When we bought BVO in 1983, one of the old local farmers told me that our high intermontane valley was “drought proof“. Indeed, in our first 15 years I was impressed with how much rain fell here, even though we had a couple real dry spells in the late 1980’s- early 1990’s. Some folks believe that the “S” curve in the Adams County portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains acts as topographical ‘storm trap’. We do get much more rain and snow, than the Gettysburg Plain, just 5 miles to our east, and 600 feet (100m) lower in elevation.

But then in 1998, we slipped into what became known locally as the “Five Year Drought“. By 2000 many of the local springs were failing (including Gum Spring, and Pine Spring; which were noted for having not failed in the 1880’s Drought). These springs went dust dry in 2001! Some of it may have been caused from more intensive modern water use, and also by the local trend toward deforestation. At BVO we we glad to see that our semi-artesian well held up, and which, along with a mountain of mulch, helped us bring our crops thru.

This year, we are already wrapping up our excellent early summer berry harvest, so we don’t have to worry about them. We can now move our soaker hoses onto our rows of M-9 dwarf apple trees, and bring their crops in. Water is something you take for granted when you have plenty, but when you don’t have enough, it can really get to you. Some folks say that our planet now doesn’t have enough fresh and clean water for all seven billion of us (and counting).

Thank You

Thom Marti

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