Soggy is the new ….

Red sky in the morning
Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning

I was trying to think of something funny and witty for my title.  But soggy is not good, but is the present state of my garden.  I’m not really all that happy about it.  I got so used to finally having lovely hot summer like days – even though it was technically autumn.  I revelled in the fact it was too hot to sleep and the hum of the fan made a wonderful lullaby.  It was energising to be greeted by the sun each morning and the chorus of the birds were drowned out by the cries of the cicadas who were already basking in the warmth of the day.  Tending to the garden was a joy and a pleasure.  It was too hot for weeds to grow so it was just a bit of primping and preening here and harvesting and sowing there, then coming in out of the midday sun for a bit of a break and back out again in the afternoon for even more gardening fun.

Rain radar
I checked the rain radar frequently over the last few days hoping for a break, but was mostly greeted with this or something similar.

This is how it should have been all summer, but I accepted this autumn blessing and ran with it.  Sadly, it came to an abrupt end.  Wednesday started with a warning, a magnificent red glow lit up the dawn sky.  The boffins had been jumping up and down suggesting we all brace ourselves for bad weather, but to be honest the sky was what really convinced me.  The sky became progressively gloomier as the day wore on and then the heavens opened and started to rain.  Big fat heavy drops.  The ones that mean business and they dramatically fell to the parched earth.  My garden received 55mm in the first 24 hours.  Then we had a reprieve for a day, although the sun didn’t come back.  Then it rained again and we receive another 85mm in a torrential period that seemed to last for hours then it eased back to a drizzle until the final pounding delivered another 23mm.

rain gauge
This was from the second and third bursts of rain. I should have emptied it in between as I was worried it would overflow.

It was almost like nature was following the rules for rehydrating a parched soil… start slowly to break the dry crusty seal, then wait and allow it to soak in and create pathways deep into the soil.  Then come back and water deeply on a ground more receptive to receiving moisture to the depths of the root zone and beyond.  Then once more to make sure every last part of the dry soil is rehydrated.

Who hasn’t left the sprinkler on before? A puddle or two, or a bit of flooding drains eventually. We are just grateful it wasn’t worse.

Having said that – nature did leave the tap running a bit too long and created puddles and surface water across the garden.  I have to say I have been guilty of this myself in the past so know how easy it can happen.  You pop the sprinkler on, check the time and think I’ll just do these few chores, and come back and turn the tap off.  Then half way through dinner, or even worse, you’re lying in bed and you sit bolt upright as you remember…”oh no… the sprinkler….!!!!”

Bedraggled tomatoes
My poor tomatoes. I did a heavy pick before the rain, but the ones left have split from too much moisture in the ground. The old tired leaves are brown and soggy and to be honest I looks like I’ve given up on them – but I haven’t. I just wasn’t able to protect them from the storm.

So now the rain has gone, the garden is nicely hydrated, the sun is shining again, the cicadas are singing once more, but it isn’t the same.  There is a barely perceivable chill that wasn’t there before.  The surface of things maybe dry but there is a sogginess deep down.  The tomatoes are completely bedraggled and makes you wonder if it is worth leaving them there.  And the weeds have responded with great excitement to the rain and created a carpet of green wherever there was bare soil a week ago.  There is a lot to be done, but the spring has long since gone from my step.  There is no denying it now.  We are in the final days of this growing season.

The eternal question: Why do weeds grow so fast and with such vigor when my tender wee seedlings need such care and protection. And why aren’t the bugs eating them. If they were brassica seedlings what the slugs and snails hadn’t taken care of would be covered in caterpillars by now!

Come again soon – this doesn’t mean the garden comes to a halt, it is just different.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)


4 thoughts on “Soggy is the new ….

  1. The nature of the weeds… only the fastest and toughest survive to flower… so one could argue that regular weeding removes all but the most adapted, which leads over generations to a more tricky weed crop. In my own beds I’m observing that the weeds left after years of purely mechanical control are the ones most similar in appearance to the cultivated plants. Which makes sense, since they are easily overlooked, survive longer and get a chance to reproduce.

    1. That’s a very good point. I have to say, the older the bed, the less weeds, so I think over time there is the hope that the weed problem can be significantly diminished if you stay on top of them. : o)

  2. Beautiful sunrise! We have floods and landslide warnings in the Seattle area again! I appreciate that I don’t have to water the garden! I also don’t have tomatoes growing right now though.

    1. I can reluctantly accept bad weather in winter – where it is supposed to be, but it is hard when your growing season isn’t as good as it should be. But there is always next season – they can’t all be bad. : o)

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