Editorial: Gardeners love to complain about the rain, or lack thereof

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 4, 2019

We gardeners love to complain about the weather.

And for good reason.

The winter rains made it nearly impossible to get the soil ready for those early crops like onions, beets, potatoes and greens. Most of us planted a couple of weeks late, which means harvest will be a couple of weeks late, which means the garden will be full of spring crops when it is time to plant summer crops.

Darn rain.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I got some seeds into the ground. Seeds need moisture to germinate. It quit raining. That means hand watering the seeds until they are strong enough to go a few days without moisture. I fill a barrel with water to carry to the garden on the back of my truck.

Darn lack of rain.

April showers bring May flowers? In a perfect world, maybe. Our weather world sure ain’t perfect, but it is unpredictable. It wasn’t that long ago, the “experts” were urging us to include drought-tolerant plants in our landscapes. We did. Some drowned. Some disappeared. Some are just plain unhappy.

Darn rain.

The last time I planted sweet corn, the stars must have been aligned. The seeds came up like a charm, I even had to thin a few seedlings. The stalks reached to the sky, straight and strong, just like they do when the moisture is perfect. And then they started to tassle, another good sign. Corn needs rain, or at least a heavy wind, to germinate those tassels into juicy kernels. It quit raining that July, for weeks. Efforts to go through and distribute the pollen by shaking the stalks did little good. The corn wasn’t ruined, but the cobs weren’t full, either.

Darn lack of rain.

For those of us who work full-time jobs and garden on the side, the weather can be even more troublesome. Some years, it seems to rain every time I have a day off. I’m not scared of mud, but there’s only so much you can do when it’s really sloppy.

Darn rain.

Even with the unpredictable and unusual weather over the past year, there is one prize in my garden. A beet — planted just over a year ago. I’m going for a new record. Once, I had a beet to live over a year and a half. Planted in the spring, I left it there just for fun when I harvested the other beets. It made it through the summer, went to seed, then stayed alive through the winter, even going to seed again the following spring. I was to the point of making it a tourist attraction when the drought hit in the heat of late summer. The beet died.

Darn lack of rain.

I’ve had garlic turn to mush.

Darn rain.

I’ve had cucumber plants wither to nothing before their time.

Darn lack of rain.

I’ve had some type of fungus or other white stuff growing on the peas.

Darn rain.

You get the picture. We gardeners love to complain about the weather, but we wouldn’t trade our hobby for anything.

Mike Barnhardt is the editor of the Davie County Enterprise-Record.

Respect Quote of the Week

“Respect makes you feel empowered and sometimes humble. You can show respect by doing something as simple as letting someone out in front of you when you’re driving or opening a door for someone.”

— Brandon Durham