Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Garden After 3 Days of Rain

April 22, 2008 - It finally quit raining. In my area we got 3.59 inches of rain in a few day period. Nightmare! Or not, depending on your viewpoint, I suppose. The Hampton Roads area of Virginia has been way behind on average rainfall for quite some time. We've had two of these epic rain events in the last month or so and that has supposedly caught us up to the average.

I don't actually think that alleviates drought though. I mean, having an enormous quantity of water fall all at once, overflowing the roads and being channeled directly to the sea doesn't actually fill any aquifers, does it? It is all such a numbers game.

What I do know is that it was a nightmare for my poor tender plants.

One of my eight Stevia plants has developed a terminal wilting. I've read they are very tricky to grow and that other have also experienced the whole random wilting away phenomenon, but seeing it on these really hard to grow plants is really disappointing. That said, the other seven are still growing like crazy so I'm hopeful it isn't related to disease. There are no visible pests.

I've heard that some people have been successful in just topping the entire thing back to a tiny little stem poking up. Some have had it completely re-sprout quite quickly after that. It is drastic, but I may give it a try if it isn't back on the way to recovery when I get home tomorrow. I'll just go ahead and dry the leaves I take for processing into the amazingly sweet sugar substitute that it is.

One of my Brandywine tomatoes looks very limp and drenched and a few of the other items like cauliflower and brussell sprouts are a bit limp, but none of them appears terminal. A few of the beets are flopped over some but I think that is more being weighted down by mud than anything else.

As for the rest, only a few days of sunshine will be able to tell me, but their appearance sure is sad and bedraggled. All splattered with mud and pitiful.

My seedlings that were out being hardened off are my fault entirely. They all needed water so I left them out during the day thinking they were get some nice rain. Well, that was so not smart! The raindrops were huge and heavy and just smashed so many of them to smithereens that I felt like a seedling abuser. Never mind that many of them would have wound up in the compost pile when I selected only the best for planting. It still felt wrong. Once I finally realized what was happening and started bringing the dozens and dozens of them into shelter, I think it was simply too late.

On a positive note, about 25 of my 29 bush beans have sprouted up vigorously and 4 of the nine edamame (green soybean) plants are peeking out. One of my 8 pole bean sprouts broke off but 5 others are showing well. There are blossoms already on one tomato, which made me do a happy dance right there in the garden, much to the shock and embarrassment of my dogs who furtively looked about for neighbor witnesses.

The flowers, which aren't really a garden but rather a motley collection of bulbs we happened to like that are spaced with unnatural precision all over our front shrub bed are doing exceptional, as far as I can tell. A great many spikes of varying height are present all over. It actually looks sort of scary, like some nature's revenge type movie of "Freddy's" blades poking up all over. I think that is a clue to me that I should plant some seeds for softer foliage while those come in.

The hostas I planted on a whim on the side of the house in 2006 are coming back in like gangbusters and I'm certainly going to need to figure out how to divide those this fall so I can spread the wealth. They are such beautiful plants but they look like more horror movie props when a clump of them starts to come up, like some boney claw coming up from the grave. It really did sort of freak my sister and the girls out at first. They didn't know if it was some sort of animal or what. I admit, I didn't either.

All told, I was prepared for a whole lot of failure, and I may still achieve that, but that the garden has done so well to this date is so encouraging that I wish I had 3 more beds to plant!

Boscoe has apparently gotten tired of me taking pictures of him all the time and this is his attempt at a self-portrait. No, for real, it is. He was sniffing at it and then hit it with his paw. I saw the flash and this is the result. Must have been some peanut butter vapors on the camera somewhere.

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