Monday, April 25, 2011

Finally! Rain!

We have been looking with envy on our neighbors in the eastern half of Oklahoma these last few weeks, as they have gotten storm after storm, and we have gotten nothing. In all honesty, we have not had any rain, other than one or two very light mistings, since last October. On the news, farmers talked of turning their cattle loose in their wheat fields, as grazing lands were turning brown and wheat growth was stunted. Levels in our drinking water lakes (and elsewhere) were frighteningly low. At least the fishermen were happy!

But finally, at 6 a.m. yesterday, I awoke to the sound of rain. I even woke the hubster so he could hear it, too. It rained most of the day, generally a slow steady, soaking rain, except for a few hard downpours and about a minute's worth of pea-sized hail. It was a great Easter gift.

The garden loved it, of course. I have been fretting over my plants lately, because even though they seem to be growing well, it appears the root systems are very shallow. I dug around both a carrot top and a radish top with my finger, and found no carrot or radish growing--just a skinny root system. I water daily, but I've been having a difficult time really soaking all that peat moss. I'll water until there's standing water on top, wait for that to sink in, and then repeat. Yet, if I stick my finger into the Mel's mix after watering, only the top half-inch or so is even wet. The hubster and I picked up a soaker hose Saturday night, intending to install it on Sunday, but the rain did the soaking instead. I stuck my finger in the Mel's mix after the rain had stopped, and much more of it was damp. Hopefully we'll get the soaker hose in place very soon, and capitalize on what the rain started.

My poor, pummeled jalapeno seedling.
The rain did present some new challenges, though. Two of my seven garden beds are located under the roof overhang. We thought that rain coming off the roof would miss the boxes, but not so. For the most part, the roof rain was absorbed by the plant beds without causing any problems for the plants. But at a point where there was an exterior corner on the house, rain came pouring down a channel on the roof, and drowned two square feet of garden space, its impact even forcing soil out of the box. One square was recently planted with onion and chive seeds, which I'm sure were displaced. In the other box, a transplanted jalapeno plant I had started indoors was thriving, but the rain water pummeled it into the soil. I'm not sure now if it will make it.

So, we're discussing adding gutter to that side of the house, which would be costly as well as a logistical challenge, because there's not much room for a ladder to rest. Not to mention, it might be difficult to find a gutter company willing to come out for such a small job. I haven't mentioned it to the hubster yet, but I'm thinking that if the jalapeno plant revives, I'll move it to another location, and just leave those two square feet empty. They can be a sort of catch basin for the rest of the bed. As the plants grow, the roots will (hopefully) draw that water in.

Here's a quick garden shot:

On the right, you see tomatoes, peas, green beans, squash, more tomatoes and a poblano plant. On the left you can just see some chard, followed by strawberries, and sunflowers behind the strawberries.

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