Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cold comfort

We may not have cared care much for the cold and the rain over the last week or so but the weather has brought benefits for the winter crops of the Vega Baja.

The main crops in winter; the early artichokes, broccoli and potatoes have benefited from the rain and the low temperatures will improve the spring flowering of the citrus trees.

The 40 to 50 litres per square metre of rain we’ve had has fallen slowly and soaked in rather than just running away over parched soil. Apart from irrigating the crops  properly, it will have washed away the salt and other pollutants deposited by months of irrigating with saline water.

The icy snap has not harmed the delicate growth of most the plants with the exception of the artichokes which have been blackened by the cold. The unseasonably hot weather followed by cold has affected this crop in some areas.

The good news for the growers is that the dreadful weather elsewhere in Spain means that the produce from the Vega Baja should fetch good prices at market.

The other good news is that the rain has swelled the level of the Segura river. With a higher volume of water in the river, the pollutants are diluted and the fish get vital oxygen.

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