With drought conditions worsening across the province, there have been some significant consequences as water flows have been low while temperatures have been hot.
On Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and in the Okanagan, the province has implemented a Level 4 drought rating, meaning that the affected areas are considered extremely dry and that the water supply is insufficient to meet socio-economic and ecosystem needs.
Currently, the Kootenay area is classified as Level 3, meaning that conditions are considered very dry and that potentially serious ecosystem or socio-economic impacts are possible.
Some municipalities, such as Cranbrook, have implemented voluntary watering restrictions for parks and public greenspaces. For businesses, such as local farms and greenhouses, watering is an essential part of their operation.
However, despite some of the dry conditions, it’s been a pretty good year for one local farm.
In fact, the warm weather sped up the harvest at 3 Crows Farm in Cranbrook, according to operator Christian Kimber.
“It’s been a good season, everything has been ahead of schedule,” said Kimber. “It started so early and so hot that some plants were ahead and it was wonderful. Other plants like spinach would bolt super-fast and we had a really lousy harvest on them.”
“…Stuff was accelerated. Stuff in June was behaving like it was the end of July and that kind of confused us.”
At the farm, Kimber grows seasonal produce such as lettuce, beets, broccoli, garlic, onions, kale, chard, potoatoes, mesclun mix, pea, arugula, carrots, kholrabi, and rhubarb.
Though Kimber said the weather hasn’t had much of an impact on the crops themselves, there have been other challenges that he has never seen before such as aggressive grasshoppers and dealing with a small downy mildew outbreak.
In terms of watering, Kimber believes the farm is using less water than last year because of different techniques with drip irrigation and a new mulch.
“We’re able to stay within all of the city regs and still produce a really good-quality product,” Kimber said.
“We spend a bit more time hand-watering a few things like new seedlings and—because we do a lot of transplanting, the heat and the drought has affected germination and how well seedlings survive, but overall we’re finding that a lot of crops are doing really well.
“…the city hasn’t imposed any extra watering restrictions, it’s the same restrictions we’ve always worked around and we’ve been able to stay with in that.”
You can catch Kimber and produce from 3 Crows Farms at the Cranbrook and Kimberley Farmers Market.