No Rain, No Gain

April showers bring May flowers! Well, it appears lately April showers bring May showers. The past few weeks have been full of rainy weather and cloudy skies. Large amounts of rain can affect fruit growth at Kimmel Orchard and even plant growth in your own backyard… but how?

Rainwater has many advantages and can be beneficial when compared to other irrigation sources. The chlorine used to treat tap water makes the water safe to drink but is toxic in large amounts to plants and can have damaging results. Rainwater lacks the chemicals tap water is treated with making it softer on the plants. There are higher oxygen levels in rainwater as well helping to avoid diseases that often occur when the soil is saturated with water. High levels of rain also reduce the water bill, as it obviously comes free from the sky! Since it comes from the sky, it is also more sustainable, as water is not being taken from other sources and can be conserved. Home gardeners often place rain barrels near their roof to collect runoff for future watering because of all these benefits and more!

Within the past few weeks, Kimmel has planted around 6,500 apple trees. Normally, they would be watered shortly after planting, but the rain has provided an alternate source of irrigation. This provides the trees with all of the benefits mentioned above and allows our employees to focus on other tasks besides watering.

At this time, the strawberries are setting fruit, and some are even starting to turn red! During this stage, the strawberries must receive water to form a full looking berry. Not enough water can cause small strawberries. Hopefully, this means we have juicy, full strawberries!

Rainwater has so many more benefits on top of all these. It may make the sky gloomy and the weather chilly, but it definitely helps the plants grow and stay healthy!

Alyssa Rosenbaum – Education and Food Safety Intern