Central Indiana is already 3″ behind “normal” rainfall for May. It allowed the farmers to get the planting done, so that was a blessing but once they were finished everyone began looking to the skies. Rain was occasionally in the forecast, but kept going around our area. The unusual heat (it broke a 137 year-old record for high temperature in May!) contributed to the need for moisture. Gardening consisted basically of watering, watering, watering but only in the potager. The rest of the gardens were on their own. Even with watering, plant growth in the potager was slow. But finally yesterday I could feel rain in the air. The wind picked up, and all the plants trembled in happy anticipation! It wasn’t a big rain, only 1/4″ or so and short in duration but any real rain accomplishes what hours of watering cannot. This morning I could “row” the soybeans in the field next door. Plants in the flower gardens that had been droopy were standing tall. As I walked past the Deck Garden to the potager, the combination of “Old Gold” irises and “American” columbine caught my eye. I don’t generally use any red in my borders and beds but I allow this native columbine to self-seed here and there because it always blooms early, providing much-needed food for the hummingbirds who normally return about the time it blooms. And, it’s really not a red-red but leaning toward orange. I like the way the bits of gold in the columbine blooms echo the falls of the iris.
In the potager, I swear the tomatoes, broccoli and cabbages had doubled in size since yesterday! Some of the violas and calendulas that have been dug out by raccoons multiple times and were looking ready to give up yesterday actually looked perky today. Succession plantings of beets, carrots, peas and beans were pushing through the rain-softened soil. The first potato plantings (French Fingerling) were towering out of their pots, so I added several more inches of soil inside each one. The second planting of peas now needed support, so a line of sticks were added. Lettuces that had been limp in the heat despite my watering look crisp and seem to be growing even as I stare, especially the “fancy” ones I picked from Territorial seeds.
Best of all, those glimpses of red had plumped into this first bouquet of radishes from the potager. And it was exciting to see the infant carrots within the same row getting their true leaves. The radishes have done their job of sheltering the carrots well, and will now be harvested to give the carrots more room to grow.
It’s exciting to see the sudden growth everywhere, and even more exciting because today instead of watering, I can plant, seed, weed and deadhead the tulips that surrendered to the heat instead of dragging a hose. What a difference a rain makes!