Archives for posts with tag: drought

I just got off the phone with my mom, who asked about this week’s blog post. I told her I was just too dispirited to write about the garden, which is shaping up as the worst we’ve ever had.

We’re normally tired of tomatoes by now, and this year we’ve barely eked out enough for us and a handful of select friends (you know who you are). I’ve put away exactly three pints of tomato sauce for the winter. It appears we’ll be buying 99-cent canned tomatoes like the rest of America.

Those fancy grafted tomatoes we bought from Oregon? No better than anything we bought locally, and in fact, one has already gone belly up. It might be a sign – why buy tomato plants from Oregon, where the climate is far different from ours, rather than tomato plants hardened locally. Never again.

I bought some broccoli seedlings while CRR frowned – and sure enough, they’ve turned brown and dried up.

Even the horseradish is suffering.

It hasn’t been a complete bust. We had a decent beet crop. The peppers have dutifully produced (though not a single jalapeno yet!). The “mystery” volunteer plant turned out to be pumpkin, which has produced two promising fruits. We’ve got a second beet crop coming along, about two inches tall.

Come to think of it, there are still some promising signs. And maybe next weekend, we’ll sow some lettuce and spinach for a fall harvest.

A gardener, like a farmer, is ever the optimist. The next best crop is just around the corner.

Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA.  Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening.

I am sitting on the patio, admiring the lushness that surrounds me. The grass is emerald green and the tree canopy hangs heavy. The roses, hydrangea and lilies are in full bloom. The heavenly scent from the pearly blossoms of the magnolia tree drift my way.

Magnolia Blossom, by Sara Mac

Magnolia Blossom, by Sara Mac

The vegetable garden looks the same: luxurious. From the tomatoes to the root vegetables, all signs point to an abundant harvest.

Though CRR and I would like to pat ourselves on the back for this lush valley of vegetation, credit in reality goes to Mother Nature.

We awoke to 0.8 inches of rain this morning, putting our precipitation to date (June 23) half-an-inch over the average of 18.73 inches for the Washington, D.C area.

By the summer solstice of 2012, the rain gods had sent us just 12.53 inches. We were watering like crazy to fight off drought.

As a farmer’s daughter, I am very aware of the blessings and heartache of the weather patterns. An inch of rain in mid summer would send the farmers into town to celebrate the “million-dollar rain”, which would invariably make the crop. A dry spell would crease my father’s brow with worry.

While I sit here enjoying a lazy late afternoon, I am wondering when the latest bout of violent weather will shift eastward. Tornadoes and storms in my native South Dakota this weekend crushed private planes like small toys and lifted houses off their foundations.

At the same time, practically the entire nation west of the Mississippi River is suffering various stages of drought, from moderate (D1) to exceptional (D4), according to NOAA.

That kind of weather – the type that draws news coverage – we can all do without. It seems like the kind of summer that should turn climate change doubters into believers.

Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA.  Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening.