Waiting for the Rain

We’ve been experiencing a rather long bought of both extremely high temperatures and humidity levels plus drought here in the city. They’ve been getting rain and other strange weather patterns outside the city, but here in the core it’s been nothing but massive heat and humidity with a distinct lack of rain. This is both incredibly difficult (the smog is terrible.) and amazing. My plants are growing like wildfire!

For example, I planted my Painted Lady runner bean, dwarf pea, and sweet pea seeds into their respective containers no more than two weeks ago and they’re already massive. It is possible that this was only a week ago but the growth is so incredibly extreme I’m hesitant to believe it. Is it possible it was only a week ago? It’s all a blur. Needless to say I planted them incredibly late. I started at the appropriate time last year and am certain they were not this big by this stage. Tomatoes are producing suckers faster than I can pinch them off! I’m already harvesting small bunches of basil, some from plants I haven’t even planted out yet! It’s madness.

On the negative side, the heat is so extreme I’ve experienced over-exposure twice while gardening and have been hesitant to touch my community plot. I’m waiting for rain and am fairly certain it’s going to happen any minute now. Once it rains I’ll be prepared to go over to the plot and get things planted. I prefer to plant in-ground during or after a rain. Otherwise I’ll have to go back to the plot again to make sure everything is setting in well. I also need to add some serious organic matter to the plot and do not want the extra hassle of scratching bone-dry soil. I hope the perennials in my plot are still kicking.

The street garden has been doing quite well. The purple irises had finished flowering and when out of nowhere I discovered the peach irises in bloom. I forgot all about them. I cut them back to enjoy in a vase on my desk since a couple of irises look kind of sad in a large patch of iris leaves. The peony plant that went in last year produced a lone, but very pretty pink n’ puffy flower. I cut that back too. One flower is just too much temptation for some passersby. The wild rose I put in last year is also blooming and I have already noticed that a few branches have been ripped off to get at the blooms. I honestly have no idea how this was accomplished without tools. I received several thorny jabs while cutting three blooms and I used both gloves and clippers to accomplish the task. I like that the white flowers are green as buds.

I’m happy to report that this gorgeous mullein (Verbascum) I put in last year has propagated a second across the garden. The purple smoke bush is flowering!

Sadly, the street garden feel-good-fest is about to change since my landlord has an order from the city under this new incredibly stupid by-law to clean up the tiny bits of grafitti that have been on the wall for several years. He has a week to do it and has hired some people who are going to spray some scary paint-dissolving crap and then add a layer of a paint-repellant chemical. We don’t know when this is happening but I’m hoping to be there to be certain they do not trample the plants and spray chemical all over the place. There goes years of organic growing efforts down the toilet.

I will post more photos soon but my camera ran out of juice just as I was about to shoot some show n’ tell pics.

Good timing. Here comes the rain!

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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2 thoughts on “Waiting for the Rain

  1. Ha! And here, it’s been raining so much I haven’t dared plant my CG plot for fear that everything will just rot away into nothingness. We had two days of extreme heat a few weeks ago, and I meant to plant then, but by the time I made it to the greenhouse, I was already sick from the heat and threw in the towel. I am about to go away for a week and a half, and had wanted to have things done before, but hope is dwindleing fast…

    Here’s to high hopes of better weather for all!

    ps. hope your garden doesn’t get too chemicalized, you’ve worked so hard! maybe put a tarp over it?

  2. yeah, that was a serious downpour yesterday… and it didn’t do anything to dissipate the humidity. Go figure!

    Having seen it with my own eyes finally, I am really sad that things might get complicated for your side garden with the graffiti clean-up. I’m crossing my fingers that damage is minimal.

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