Island farmers off to a good start this spring


WATCH: A sunny spring has farming off to a good start but farmers already irrigating more than normal.

It’s been a good start to the farming season at Sieffert’s Farm in the Comox Valley. They’re growing a wide variety of vegetables on about 100 hectares and their market will be opening early than normal this year, on Thursday.

“Yeah I think we’ll be a little ahead on things that are ready compared to most years,” said Bob Sieffert.

Workers were busy in the fields Tuesday planting lettuce by machine. Everything begins as a seed at Sieffert’s and much of it gets a head start in greenhouses.

Thanks to a spring that’s been sunnier than normal, everything, including the quickly ripening tomatoes in the greenhouses, got off to a good start.

“It’s put all the plants earlier,” said Charlene Sieffert. “Everything’s ready, the tomatoes are early, cucumbers are on schedule, everything’s ahead of schedule.”

But it’s not long before talk about lots of sun turns to talk of not enough rain.

“It’s been quite a lot of sun and a lot less rain,” said Bob Sieffert. “We’ve irrigated more this spring than we do in an average year by far.”

About six to eight millimetres of rain fell on the farm over the weekend which is barely enough to keep the dust down, said Sieffert. He says they could have used more than double that.

While it’s still early in the season,  they’re worried about another summer of drought that could deplete their supply of well water.

“Well, we’re certainly concerned about it,” he said. “The last couple of years have been very dry. We’ve gotten down to the point where you start having to choose between what really needed it and what could scrape by.”


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