It has been raining since January. Not literally, but more often than not. March came with more rain, but I hoped it would stop by April. That’s when we plant our garden. Its what I look forward to all year.
But April came…and went. The air stayed cool, and the ground just never dried up. It kept raining. And raining. The garden plot stayed in a perpetual state of mud. There was no hope of digging it with a shovel, let alone tilling it for planting.
May came. I’d hoped that surely with the dawn of May that we’d have those nice, hot southern days to make the mud go away. But instead it rained some more.
It felt like the hope of having melons and tomatoes was slipping through our fingers. Last year by May, we’d had beans a few inches tall. Corn was already growing strong. Squash was leafing out nicely. And there were lots of flowers on our tomato plants. It felt like someone had put the pause button on the seasons. I was antsy.
Then we decided on Plan B. The flower beds right next to the house seemed to dry up more quickly. We grabbed shovels and rake and dug deep. We spent an hour at the local hardware store browsing vegetable starts—the ones that we didn’t have in my seed stash. We came home with six tomato plants, a few Brussels sprouts and some Chinese cabbage. We planted those along the back wall of the house. I tucked cucumber and miniature cantaloupe seeds into the dirt under the edge of the raised porch. The summer squash would grace the front of the house. Our perimeter garden was born. I couldn’t wait for the seedlings to sprout!
But then it rained again. It rained so much that it turned the base of the tomato plants into miniature lakes. The tomatoes were fine—they were big enough to handle the rain. But the squash? It drowned the squash seeds before they had a chance to sprout properly. It kept raining and I decided to get smart. I planted again. In pots on my porch where the rain couldn’t get to them.
Then the rain stopped. Last Thursday we decided it was now or never. The top 1/4th of our garden plot was just about dry enough to till. The rest was still soggy mud. But we tilled what we could and planted beans, okra and corn. It felt good and we couldn’t wait for our long awaited garden to grow.
This weekend, it rained again. It poured down on our already 15 inches ahead of normal rainfall another 5 inches. This time it did it all in the space of a few hours. The ditches filled with water. It made a little river on our lawn. It flashed across the newly planted garden.
When the buckets of rain stopped, I went out to survey the damage. Several feet of garden washed away. It was a mess.
But there’s always a silver lining. Somehow, in the course of one day before the rain, the beans and okra had both already sprouted. Most of them held their ground. The tomato plants I’d put out there were just inches to the side of the main flooded area and were fine. The corn didn’t wash out.
The beans and okra? I made a “mistake” early this spring when I ordered seeds. Somehow I ordered pounds of each one instead of packages. I have more than enough to plant again. And again if I need to.
It is a little crazy how much rain we’ve gotten this year. It is a little crazy how long it has taken us to get our garden in. But thanks to my “mistake”, and thanks to these hot, humid days post storm, those seeds are shooting up already. Not all is lost. Late is better than never. Maybe we’ll have some produce this year after all.