Downside - dark warm and humid
We have had some very welcome rain in the past few weeks and it looks like more is on the horizon. Our water tanks are full to overflowing and many growers will have replenished their water storage –much to their relief.
The downside to the rain is that we have had dark rainy days with warm and humid weather. Night temperatures have been far too high for optimum growing of certain crops. I have noticed cucumber plants stretching and aborting fruit. Achieving a day/night temperature difference has been impossible. Light is decreasing quickly and it is simply too warm with not enough light. Balancing a crops plant growth is very difficult in this weather. To add to the mix this is great weather for there to be a caterpillar and fungus explosion (see this week’s other articles).
These are challenges that occur from time to time. This time last year, for example, it was completely different with perfect growing conditions (remember how good the weather was during the first lockdown?). This is not a one off, this weather pattern has occurred multiple times within my time, but it still does not make it easy to control a crop, despite experiencing these conditions before.
There will be challenges in the next few weeks and until the weather cools cucumbers, in some areas, may struggle with stretching and abortion. Growers have the added pressure from insects and funguses so will have to be incredibly careful to control the watering and environment to limit excessive high humidity. I would still make sure minimum pipes are on especially in the morning to prevent guttation.
Pic - cucumbers are aboting due to the warm, wet and dark weather.
Water storage – it is the silver bullet.
I am always amused when I hear people complaining about rain. Coming from a dairy farming background and then moving into horticulture the most important part to prospering in these sectors is water. It is simple without water we will not be able to grow.
Even though the current weather pattern has caused issues for growers (as written about above), it does reiterate how important water storage is. It is a NO brainer that with more water storage you will guarantee food production. With much, much more water storage New Zealand could also produce a lot more hydro electricity reducing our need for fossil fuels. But politics will get in the way of that. For greenhouse growers my advice, when building or even retrofitting, is to make sure you understand exactly your water requirements are and build more than enough water storage to get you though these very uncertain summers.
Auckland Dam level update: https://www.watercare.co.nz/Water-and-wastewater/Where-your-water-comes-from/Auckland-s-dam-levels
The Auckland damn levels are a little over 51% with the historic average at 76%. Will it take Aucklanders to go thirsty and dirty to get someone to build more water storage? We have an abundance of land it just makes no sense to me that we are not storing what is lost down the drain and out to sea.
Article written and compiled by Stefan Vogrincic
All Article’s checked and edited by Marie Vogrincic
I appreciate your comments. Please feel free to comment on the grower2grower Facebook page: