Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rain at last

Last Friday began a spell of inclement weather which was very welcome in the gardens and the orchard. The warm, dry spell had lasted almost three weeks, with all the vegetables stressed. The pea yield was down; the early potato plants ceased growing; the beets, chard and peppers were wilted; the broccoli had begun to rice. Only the tomatoes, eggplant and beans were able to withstand it. I watered but after a while the watering had to be done daily, then twice daily, and water was in short supply, the rain barrels empty, the well pump taking twice as long to fill the holding tank. It reminded me of the summers in the 1980s, when the dry spells stressed the wildlife, making it more tempting for deer and other critters to invade the gardens and eat--and, indeed, there were some nibbled-off bean leaves in the garden next to the old store. So I made more cheesecloth hair bags and hung them on the fence, and got the old scarecrow back in action. The deer can easily jump the fence if they want to inconvenience themselves, and if the weather turns dry again they might do so and one morning I will find the beans and tomatoes eaten down to the ground.

Today I cut down the peas and the weeds that had grown up between the rows, and after a couple of weeks I will incorporate the dead matter into the soil, and plant buckwheat there.

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