I’d love to say that I kept track of just how much rain we’ve had this year, be that in inches or days with measurable rainfall, or even consecutive days of measurable rainfall. But I didn’t. So you are just going to have to trust me on this one when I say this has been an especially wet year.
We had snow in March, April was rainy and cold, May was cold and rainy, June felt like May should feel but was so wet swim practice was cancelled for three straight weeks due to thunderstorms, and July saw only one week of temps in the mid nineties. By August, the humidity was already starting to dissipate and many days felt like the glorious weather I associate with Virginia Octobers. It seems like we simply skipped summer this year. The burning bush lining my driveway is already showing signs of fall color.
Which is all to say it has been a shitty summer for vegetable farming.
In a drought, at least you can water. But in a monsoon? If you’ll indulge my complaining just a tad bit more, the other problem has been the type of rain. Ideally, if you could order up the weather, you’d have three days of beautiful, full sun followed by a day of steady but light rain – enough to saturate the ground and encourage roots to grow deep, but not so much as to wash out young seedlings or cause tomato skins to burst. It feels like we’ve had the opposite – three days of heavy, torrential washouts followed by one day of pure humidity. The roots of the plants are so shallow that if we do manage to go three days without rain, everything if completely wilted. And then, when we get the next major soaking, the plants droop from all that weight and no good anchor.
Not to mention, you need actually sunlight for the whole light reaction part of photosynthesis to happen.
Last week, we lost three rows of arugula when the pond overflowed (we received over 2 inches of rain in one hour) at a river’s pace, creating a mud slick out of the garden.
Esmont Road was flooded, my basement had a few inches of water, and the newly hatched chicks that were resting in the lower coop nearly all drowned. If it hadn’t been for our WWOOFer, who found seven of the fourteen birds barely breathing, we’d have lost them all. We were able to revive the birds by giving them a warm bath to bring up their body temperature, followed by a quick towel off and then a stint under the hair dryer. They spent three days recuperating under a heat lamp in my kitchen, but I’m happy to say all seven made it.