Water issues in Elandskraal
The past few weeks have been rather difficult in the water department of Scarabhill Farm.
Matthew Gracie

The past few weeks have been rather difficult in the water department of Scarabhill Farm. While September brought some much-needed rain, the last six weeks of dry, windy conditions have caused immense issues on the farm and with collections. The spike in temperature and virtually no rainfall on the farm have forced us to find alternative water sources and spend time moving water between farms and dams, instead of running the shop and online store. This has even resulted in us carting water manually onto the farm to refill our water-tanks.

These conditions also greatly affect crops in our fields, and in those of our partner farmers. Plants suffer in dry, hot conditions with no relief, especially when farmers are being conservative with water. Subsequently, a lot of time and energy have been used to connect our farm and others to reliable water stocks, to weather the upcoming summer months. While it is too early to predict what the months of December, January, and February will bring, the South Atlantic high-pressure system that keeps rainfall out of the Southern Cape seems considerably low this year, which may result in a stronger inversion layer.

Meteoblue historical weather data of Knysna's average temperature, rainfall and wind speeds for 2021, over the period of October to November.
Last year's Spring rainfall was higher and more frequent than this year's.

Hence, we need to focus on securing our crops, our domestic water supply, and figuring out how to make it through the next two to three months of extremely dry and windy conditions. As a start, we have begun to move our crops into shaded areas, mulch everything, and utilize water from our rain tanks instead of dam to help our crops survive the heat. We have also built many wind-barriers in the form of wooden fences and grass walls to help stop the wind from drying out our soils and crops.

How does this affect the farm and our orders?

All products are available to order, but the deliveries may be delayed by a day or two to make sure we pick at the right time, or pause deliveries to make time for water collections. For this week (21st of November, 2022), we will be making Monday's deliveries on Wednesday, as we did not have time on the weekend to arrange with farmers to collect, due to the above-mentioned water issues. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. We are happy to clarify or assist with anything you need.

We have also changed our crops to focus on more drought resistant varieties, and have re-planted out of open soil to protect our plants from our friends, the moles. As water and food become scarce in dry conditions, moles are more aggressive in their munching of our vegetables, so we have to dynamically shift our crops to raised beds that can be moved depending on the conditions. This also gives the soil some time to recover and be protected with mulch and natural composts. Finally, our neighbour has kindly offered to share some water with us and is helping us replenish our water stocks in tanks for domestic and farming use. We are truly thankful to our community who supports our farm, and hope to repay such kindness

Scarabhill Farm © 2022 | Created and Maintained by Nethound

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