What a difference a rain makes!

Iris Old Gold & columbine  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.  Radish 1st 5-14-18  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!


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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13 Responses to What a difference a rain makes!

  1. Mala Burt says:

    In Maryland we were cold, then too wet, then too dry. Now for the last few days we’ve had thunder storms and torrential rain. I have more seeds to plant but the soil is so wet I think they will rot. I did get the tomatoes in my bed at the community garden and a couple left overs planted in holes in a flower bed that gets sun. I am in awe of your potager.


  2. Surprised to see your iris’ are flowering all ready. Snows been long gone here in Ireland but mine are only coming into bud now.


    • carolee says:

      We got off to a slow, slow start but now new things are bursting into bloom daily. I don’t have a lot of irises anymore, only those that seem to resist the borer have survived and I don’t want to exert the effort it takes to cultivate the others.


  3. Laurie Graves says:

    Dry here in Maine, too, and yesterday we got a rain similar to yours. Those radishes look scrummy.


    • carolee says:

      Even a tiny rain is better than none. I picked another bouquet of radishes yesterday. It’s so comforting when the harvest begins!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie Graves says:

        Yes, a tiny rain is better than none. Have you ever eaten radishes sliced thin on toast with butter? A friend told me about this via her German daughter-in-law. Sounds a little strange, but it’s really quite tasty.


  4. Jean Pike says:

    Love your Old Gold Irises. Here in SE Ohio our weather choices seem to be flood or drought right now 😦


  5. Georgia has been very dry this spring too. Finally getting steady rains. You are so right. Its amazing what a good rain can do. My summer squash has hit a growth spurt!


  6. In Somerset, we are also having a long dry spell after unseasonable cold, the poor vegetables are really struggling!


    • carolee says:

      Hope you get some rain soon! Rain in our forecast for later this afternoon, but even the overcast skies we have now is a nice break from the heat!


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