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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oh, hail! -- A lesson in mutual-fund gardening

I’m mourning parts of my garden today and need to share. Misery loves company, you know.

I awoke to explosive thunder and pounding on my roof. I knew rain had been forecast and welcomed it to quench my thirsty garden. Yay, a break from watering chores! These sounds all around, however, just didn’t seem right.

Hail met my incredulous eyes when I looked outside. I’ve seen bigger stones, but these ones came down in a thick blanket of bullets. My poor squash plant! Its leaves seem to be the paper targets used by expert marksmen trying to outdo each other.

Will my plants recover? Only time will tell. But as I surveyed the damage in my yard, I saw hope. I realized an interesting thing. Because I had placed some plants here, some plants there in a horticultural hopscotch across my property, not all plants suffered from the hail’s wrath.

The tomatoes I planted on a lark right next to my house only because I had a few extra starts after planting my main garden were sheltered there by the roof’s overhang. You can see them right behind the less fortunate pumpkins.

Elsewhere, I’ve lamented most of the summer that my neighbor’s branches were infringing over the fence next to my main garden. Yet what do you know? They offered extra protection for my plants below. In other places fences or structures extended a gracious windbreak.

We can’t always predict what forces of nature – weather, insects, disease -- will ransack our gardens, just like we can’t guess which way the stock market will go. By diversifying our plantings, however, through both variety and location of crops, we safeguard ourselves a bit for whatever may fall.



Em said...

Oh - what a bummer about your plants Jennifer! Those leaves look awful! I hope you're still able to get something out of your gardens after this! We're having lots of rain and wind today here - it's nice... (thanks Hanna!)

marisa said...

Jennifer, how is your garden looking now? Do you think it will pull out of it?

(Jennifer wrote this post about a week ago, and it got published yesterday)

jennifer said...

My garden is actually doing OK. The pictured vines hit hardest by the hail have withered and died, and several tomatoes are badly pitted. Amazingly some squash and pumpkin plants have grown new foliage and produced new blossoms. Perhaps the abundance of moisture and cooler temps tricked them into thinking it was late spring again. Too bad we don't have weeks of summer left to help those blossoms along. It will be a race between fruit formation and frost! (Sigh . . . I think I know who will win.)

Emily, hope your area was safe.